Anderson Silva’s denial that he took PEDs is now in tatters after it was revealed he failed a second test for a banned substance.
The news comes a week after results of the first test, conducted by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, who found Silva had two types of anabolic steroids in his system.
The details of the second substance and whether it was a PED or a recreational drug is yet to be revealed.
The revelation serves another course of embarrassment for the UFC and mixed martial arts in general. The UFC has had a torrid year to date – at least in terms of reputation – with numerous drug-related incidents raising questions about the level of integrity within the sport of mixed martial arts.
It comes after news earlier this week that another top contender, Hector Lombard, failed a test for Desoxymethyltestosterone; also an anabolic steroid.
As pressure mounts and the spotlight of scrutiny shines on the organisation, the question is what, if anything, the UFC plans to do about the drug-induced mess it’s found itself in.
Whenever one of their athletes is busted for PEDs the obligatory statement is sent out that reads something along the lines of ‘the UFC takes the use of drugs very seriously,’ with a few words about punishing any abusers, and so on.
But a key issue, and one that’s engraining this oily stain on MMA’s reputation, is that they don’t take it seriously. Not at all. Every time one of their fighters is busted for PEDs they demonstrate nonchalance with the punishments they hand out, thus doing nothing to deter others within their ranks from following suit.
The MMA is littered with fighters that have had been busted for drugs in the past.
Take Antonio Silva for example. After his brilliant fight against Mark Hunt at the back end of 2013 he was found to have testosterone levels that were through the roof and, despite his claims to the contrary, it appears he had been caught cheating. He was given a nine-month ban by the UFC, and whilst he did have his $50,000 bonus rescinded some would say he wouldn’t have won it in the first place if he weren’t jacked up on synthetic hormones!
Or take a more recent example, Brian Ortega, who tested positive for Drostanolone. He was also handed a nine-month suspension and a $2,500 fine by the CSAC.
These are just two examples amongst a multitude of others where the power players within MMA had the opportunity to set an example by terminating the contract of its drug-cheats, thus demonstrating to fighters that the sport isn’t prepared to accept cheating. But it passed up the opportunity and instead both fighters were back in he cage in less than a year.
Now, nine months may seem a lot on the face of it, but when you consider that most fighters only compete on average 2 or 3 times a year, suddenly you realise there isn’t much to lose from taking performance enhancing drugs, at least financially, compared to what there is to gain.
Steroids improve strength, power and recovery from training and injuries. They are a massive advantage in a sport like MMA, and anyone who says otherwise is either lying or taking them themselves!
Arguably the worst part for a fighter about being popped for PEDs is the bad publicity and label of ‘cheat,’ but neither of these punishments are dished out by the commissions or the various MMA promotions have drug testing policies in place. We have the fans to thank for that, who appear to regard cheating as more of an issue.
For guidance, boxing is a good example to follow. Although not immune from its own incompetence and controversies, the sport appears to take a much harder stance when it comes to PEDs.
Larry Olubamiwo, a British boxer, was banned for four years for taking steroids.
Another Brit, Craig Winter, who unlike many of the MMA fighters caught out actually admitted the offence, was also banned from boxing for the same offence, this time for three years and nine months.
So the whilst other sports are experiencing similar problems, the severity with which they are treating them is markedly different.
Despite some of the more high profile busts happening to fighters currently competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the problem is by no means exclusive to the UFC; it’s endemic to the sport. But as long as the athletic commissions demonstrate their inability, or indifference, in dealing with the issue for the sake of the sport may be Dana White and the Fertittas could take up the mantle, and be the leading lights in this fight because the use of PEDs is a cancer and unless it is ceased immediately it will continue to spread.
This article was brought to you by Darryl Rigby, follow Darryl on twitter @DarrylVoderman