(“Dammit, Jose! You told me this stuff was safe!” / Photo via Getty)
Sadly, one of the greatest heavyweight fights in UFC history will now have an asterisk next to it. Yesterday evening, MMAJunkie broke the news that Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva tested positive for elevated testosterone following his five-round war against Mark Hunt at UFC Fight Night 33, December 7th in Brisbane, Australia. As a result, the UFC — which regulated the event and was responsible for fighter drug-testing — has suspended Silva for nine months retroactive to the date of the fight, and stripped him of his $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus. The bout with Hunt will be changed to a no-contest on Bigfoot’s professional record, although Hunt still gets to keep his draw, and will receive the $50k that would have gone to Silva.
According to a statement released by a UFC rep, “Silva is on a medically approved regimen of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), and had been in compliance with therapeutic guidelines on all pre-fight tests performed prior to the event. The results of his test on the day of the event indicated a level of testosterone outside of allowable limit. Silva has been informed that the elevated testosterone level is a violation of the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy and his Promotional Agreement with Zuffa.”
As our own George Shunick put it, “Someone please explain to me how a man who is 280 pounds of bone, sinew and muscle has a ‘legitimate’ prescription for TRT.” That’s a very good question. When Silva tested positive for horse-steroids back in 2008, he blamed the result on an over-the-counter testosterone booster called Novodex, which he was using to treat his gigantism, brought on by cysts on his pituitary gland. And once again, Silva is claiming that his latest failed test is not his fault:
Clarification: Months before my fight I looked for the UFC doctor Marcio Tannure in Brazil so I could start the hormonal replacement “TRT” which was authorized and recognized by a professional. I started the treatment and 2 weeks before my fight I did all the exams required by the UFC. My testosterone level continued to be low so I was recommended by the doctor to increase the dosage. Unfortunately my level increased too much and caused me to suspend. I only did what was recommended by someone trained who understands about the subject therefore it was not my mistake. I’m cool because I know that the mistake was not made by me, I never tried doing anything wrong for my fight.
As MMAMania explains: “It should be noted that Tannure is the medical director of the Brazilian Mixed Martial Arts Commission’s (CABMMA) and, according to Brazilian mixed martial arts (MMA) reporter Guilherme Cruz, Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters always refer to him as a ‘UFC doctor.’ Indeed, he takes care of most of Brazil’s UFC fighters, and was also responsible for authorizing the TRT therapy for Vitor Belfort.” For what it’s worth, Silva also released some correspondence from his doctors indicating that his T-levels were low as of November 30th.
After news of Silva’s failed test broke, MMAJunkie’s Steven Marrocco called up Mark Hunt to get his reaction. “Shit, I need to get on some of this shit,” Hunt said. “Fuck, I don’t know how these guys are doing this shit. I should get some of that shit, too…I don’t know what to say, honestly. I don’t know what it is, but kudos to me for the bonus, eh?” Hunt then publicly blasted MMAJunkie for waking him up and not explaining that he was being interviewed. Classic Hunto.
When reached for comment, UFC president Dana White released a frowny-face on twitter. Silva is now the sixth UFC fighter to be busted for elevated testosterone in 2013, following Rousimar Palhares, Lavar Johnson, Brian Bowles, Ben Rothwell, and Robert Drysdale.