September 17, 2008

by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
Antonio Silva will not appeal his California State Athletic Commission suspension at the regulatory agency’s hearing this Friday in Van Nuys, Calif.

Silva was flagged for the anabolic steroid Boldenone nearly a month after defending his belt against Justin Eilers at EliteXC’s second CBS card on July 26. The heavyweight champion has until Sept. 20 to file an appeal before his suspension and fines become final.

CSAC representative Bill Douglas initially confirmed positive tests from the commission’s “A” sample on the first of August.

CSAC Executive Director Armando Garcia told MMAWeekly.com he has not yet received Silva’s appeal.

Silva’s lawyer, Howard Jacobs, was aware of the deadline, but as of last week, said he had no documentation upon which to build a case. After agreeing to represent Silva in early September, Jacobs requested the CSAC’s documentation for his positive test, including lab results and “chain of custody” for the urine samples collected by the commission.

“I literally have nothing,” he said. “All I know is that he’s tested positive.”

Assuming Silva makes the deadline, he will have 30 days from the date of his appeal to request a special hearing for his case. Otherwise, he will likely appear at the CSAC’s next public hearing, scheduled for Nov. 20 in a location to be determined. Both meetings would be open to the public.

Silva’s American representative, Alex Davis, maintains that Silva’s medical condition of acromegaly, or “gigantism” precludes him from taking anabolic steroids. Acromegaly is characterized by a benign tumor in the pituitary gland that produces excess growth hormone. Davis said that Silva’s tumor has caused him to produce as much as 20 times the normal amount of growth hormone in the body.

“It would be completely insensible or even dangerous to make use of any other steroids or substances that could worsen that kind of problem,” he said.

Following the CSAC’s suspension, Davis says he had Silva tested for steroids at the Aegis Sciences Corporation – a facility he says is on the CSAC’s approved list of testing facilities – and results were negative.

Davis thinks the red flag arose from Silva’s use of Novedex, an over the counter testosterone booster.

“With the commission, you’re guilty until proven innocent,” he says.

Ironically, Novodex’s maker, Gaspari Nutrition USA, warns professional athletes of a possible positive test for steroids.

“We strongly suggest that you discuss use of Novedex with your sanctioning body before using it,” the website writes. “With results this powerful, you might be wrongfully accused of ‘cheating.'”

Garcia would not confirm what supplements Silva disclosed in his pre-fight medical questionnaire, but said Novodex was not one of them.

Silva is currently helping his teammates at American Top Team prepare for upcoming bouts. He doesn’t fault the commission for his suspension.

“I think that the Commission’s doing their job,” he said. “They got a positive result, and they did what they had to do to suspend me. What I have to do is prove my innocence. I hope they give me a chance to prove my innocence.

“It’s an inconvenience, because I’ve come off four straight victories, and I just came off winning a title. But I’m sure that I’m clean. I’m going to prove this to my family and friends. The law states that you’re innocent until proven guilty.”