Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping rarely holds his tongue on any subject but he’s especially outspoken when it comes to his feelings on fighters using performance enhancing drugs.
Throughout his UFC career, Bisping has faced several competitors guilty of using some sort of banned substance and that includings the longest reigning middleweight champion in UFC history, Anderson Silva.
Silva tested positive for two different anabolic steroids surrounding his 2015 fight against Nick Diaz that ended with a one-year suspension from the sport and now he’s been pulled from an upcoming bout against Kelvin Gastelum after he was flagged for a potential doping violation by USADA.
Bisping ultimately took Silva’s place on the card happening in China next Saturday and his opinion of the Brazilian fighter, who he defeated last year and once held in very high regard, has changed dramatically.
“It completely destroys his legacy in my opinion,” Bisping said during a media conference call on Wednesday. “A lot of people have short memories and they’ll just remember his performances. His performances were great but if you test positive for steroids twice — once you can try and talk your way out of it. Twice, I think the nail is in the coffin.
As for Gastelum, he was supposed to face Silva on the card until the USADA testing forced the UFC to yank him from the fight at the last minute.
While Gastelum doesn’t hold any kind of personal grudge against Silva, he says that he wasn’t all that shocked to find out that the former middleweight champion was caught cheating and this second offense undoubtedly harms his reputation.
“To me it wasn’t surprising that he got caught and so you’ve got to move on with the show. I feel like he definitely tarnished his legacy with this and it is what it is,” Gastelum said. “The show must go on.”
Silva has not released the substance that caused his drug testing sample to be flagged and USADA officials are not allowed to disclose that information until after the adjudication process has been completed or if the athlete reveals that information first.
As of now, Silva remains on provisional suspension while awaiting word on any potential punishment that may be handed down as a result of this incident. Because Silva would be considered a multi-time offender if found guilty, he could face a stiffer suspension as a result.