Former middleweight champion Anderson Silva was once the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He’s widely considered the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
That legacy came into question after the Brazilian fighting legend tested positive to steroids leading up to and after his UFC 183 bout against Nick Diazd in January.
During a media conference call promoting his Feb. 27 return opposite Michael Bisping in London, Silva explained the circumstances of his failed tests.
“I committed an error. I’m definitely not a saint. I committed an error. I took a substance that was contaminated,” he said.
During his disciplinary hearing with the Nevada Athletic Commission, Silva’s legal team presented a defense that blamed the positive tests on a sexual enhancement supplement.
“For me to expose things that were going on in my personal life was a difficult thing to do, but I exposed it to prove my innocence,” said the 40-year-old fighter.
Silva defended his title a record ten times. He was drug tested for every one of those fights. He also was the featured fight in catchweight bouts that also required him to submit to post-fight testing.
But the UFC 183 bout against Diaz was not like any previous fight “The Spider” had. He was returning to action for the first time since suffering a gruesome leg break in the rematch against Chris Weidman at UFC 168 in December 2013.
Despite the positive test results, Silva maintains that he never intentionally ingested any illegal substance.
“If you look at my body, it never changed. I’ve always had the same build, the same frame. Nothing’s ever changed with my body. Never did I knowingly take an illegal substance. I took another product that was contaminated,” he insisted.
“I took a supplement that was contaminated. Inside the octagon, there’s no way to really lie in this sport. I’ve been fighting my whole career and never tested positive,” added the future UFC Hall of Fame inductee.
“My conscience is clear,” he said. “I never purposely ever took any banned substance. I made an error by taking a substance that was contaminated, but my conscience is clean. I know that I’ve never cheated.”