Following several months of delays, former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva submitted to a full disciplinary hearing before the Nevada Athletic Commission on Thursday.
The NAC handed Silva a one-year suspension from the date of the fight, changed the outcome of Silva’s victory over Nick Diaz to a no contest, stripped him of his $200,000 win bonus, fined him 30 percent of his $600,000 show purse, required reimbursement of the attorney general’s office expenses, required reimbursement of the drug testing costs, and required a clean drug test as a prerequisite for applying for a license after his suspension is fulfilled.
Silva was before the commission due to his failure of two drug tests related to his Jan. 31 comeback fight against Diaz at UFC 183 in Las Vegas. He tested positive for two steroids – Drostonalone and Androstane – at a Jan. 9 out-of-competition test. He then produced clean results for a Jan. 19 test. But again tested positive for Drostonalone during a Jan. 31 fight-night test.
The Jan. 31 test, also produced positive results for Benzodiazapine drugs, Oxazepam and Temazepam, which are anti-anxiety medications used to treat sleep deprivation. The Benzos were not banned, but he failed to disclose them on his medical questionnaire filed with the commission and testified that he did not make anyone aware that he took them on the night of weigh-ins.
During the testimony before the Nevada commission on Thursday, Silva’s camp tried to defend the Drostonalone positives by arguing that a sexual enhancement substance that Silva was taking unknowingly contained the banned anabolic steroid. The unidentified sexual enhancer was a substance that Silva said he obtained via a friend of his from Thailand, Marcos Fernandes, someone he has know for about a year. They had no defense at all for the Androstane positive, other than to say they believed it likely to be due to a contaminated substance.
Over the course of the hearing, Silva was asked several times about why he didn’t disclose the use of the sexual enhancer. His answer shifted several times, but basically boiled down to it being something that he says was a personal matter that he didn’t feel he should have to disclose. He was also grilled on dates that he took and stopped taking different substances, often saying he wasn’t sure and then later remembering.
All the members of the Nevada commission, in the end, said that they found his testimony puzzling at best and inconsistent overall. It was enough for them to feel that they were not being told the truth.
Commissioner Anthony Marnell seemed to sum up the commission’s consensus in saying, “I don’t feel like we’re getting the whole story. I’m not gonna say it’s a lie, but we’re not getting the whole picture here. I’m not taking anything away from Mr. Silva’s career, but this is the first time he’s been subjected to this type of testing.”
Although Silva has been drug tested numerous times throughout his career, he admitted during the proceedings that this was the first time he had been subjected to testing outside of fight night.
Marnell continued, saying that he could understand how a test can go from positive (on Jan. 9) to negative (on Jan. 19) and then back to positive (on Jan. 31) depending upon how the sexual enhancer supplement was used. He also felt that there was likely a temptation to use the product to come back from injury.
“I don’t know that, I just feel it,” Marnell continued. “I’m definitely in favor of the upper range (of penalties).”
The commission agreed, voting unanimously for Commissioner Pat Lundvall’s motion to drop the hammer on Silva with the 12-month suspension and levying $380,000 in monetary penalties due to the forfeiture of his win bonus and the 30-percent fine applied to his show money.
Silva was not yet subject to the NAC’s heavier penalties, which won’t go into effect until September, at the soonest.