Steroids in MMA
Which MMA Fighter Will Test Positive For Steroids Next?

In Defense of The Spider: A Speculative

By CP Reader Steve Lowther

As a bonafide Anderson Silva nuthugger (try not to picture that), I’ve been asking myself the same question for the past few weeks — “Why, Anderson, Why?” You were arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of our generation, maybe of all time. If Impossible was Nothing, nothing inside the cage was impossible. You, Anderson “The Spider” Silva, lived in some sort of netherworld between our world and The Matrix, where you made former champions look like amateurs and knocked out heavier men with a jab while backpedaling. Even on your worst night, you triangle-chocked victory from the loud-mouthed jaws of defeat. You were MMA’s first superhero, it’s first Superman.

Then you met your kryptonite. His name was Chris Weidman.

This article is not about whether Silva was clowning around before Weidman knocked him out, and it won’t be about how well he was or wasn’t doing before snapping his leg in half on Weidman’s knee. It won’t be a defense of PED’s, either. It will be an attempt, probably in vain, to delve into the motivations of Anderson Silva, and why he did what he did — take steroids.

AN HONEST MISTAKE

This is the defense Silva is currently running with, and a part of me wants to believe him. He’s been fighting professionally since 1997 and not once had he failed a pre or post-fight test. Maybe Silva got some bad advice from someone close to him. Have you seen his strength and conditioning coach? He’s 57 and looks like Hercules’s favorite son. Maybe he gave Silva the blue pill instead of the red pill. Maybe Silva saw a fly-by-night doctor when he should’ve seen an accredited one. This argument is a loose one based almost solely on my nuthugging denial, but it helps me sleep better at night.

INACCURATE RESULTS

This is another part of Anderson’s current defense, “The results are wrong.” After all, he supposedly passed another pre-fight test, right (Ed note: Before failing his post-fight one)? Maybe test B’s results trump test A (Ed note: And C)? Physically, Silva doesn’t look like the ultimate-roided-fucking-killer steroids supposedly turn a man into, and I don’t know about you, but the man I saw beating Nick Diaz looked more like a tentative tactician, almost hesitant at times, not a machine gun of punches and kicks. Think about Anderson Silva in his prime, the one who lit up Chris Leben, Forrest Griffin, and Rich Franklin. Now think about that Anderson Silva on steroids. That guy I see in my head doesn’t look like the guy who beat Nick Diaz.

This wouldn’t be the first time a fighter has suffered the fallout of inaccurate testing (see: Cung Le). Although limited, there is precedent for inaccurate test results. If Anderson Silva doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt, who does?

HE JUST GOT CAUGHT

This is the most cynical theory, because it suggests that Silva was on the juice throughout his entire career and just got caught. It wouldn’t be the most outlandish theory — after all, Silva didn’t begin his climb to greatness until his early to mid 30′s, a time generally considered to the be the tail end of a fighter’s prime, if not the beginning of the downswing. This theory, however, begs the question: If Silva had been on PED’s of one form or another, How and why did he get caught just now? Laziness? Incompetence? I find it hard to believe that Silva, one of the most dedicated and disciplined athletes in MMA, would somehow botch his cycling routine on what may be his last fight. That would be a sign of incompetence. Silva is many things, but a fuck-up he is not.

THE PRESSURE

To me, this is the most likely reason for Silva’s actions. We all face pressure every day in our lives. Most of us, however, don’t carry the weight of a nation on our back every time we go to work (this statement not applicable to Conor McGregor). Although the win streak and the title were gone, I have a feeling the greatest pressure Anderson felt is not from his family or fans, not from the country that he fights for, but from himself. For a guy who fights despite objections from his family, the only pressure that could make a man like Anderson Silva continue to compete must come internally. And what else could that kind of pressure do?

A poor example: When I was younger, my brother and I used to play Tekken on the good old Playstation 1. I’d beat him every game. Every. Single. Game. Then one day he beat me. I was shocked. Then he beat me again. I hated him, instantly. “One more game,” I’d say until I won again, which I did the third time around. But that feeling, that need to avenge my loss, to not quit before tasting victory again, I experienced it at the smallest level. Could Anderson have experienced it at the highest?

THE PROBABLE REALITY

The sad thing is, we’ll never truly know why Anderson did what he did, why he decided to take steroids leading up to his fight with Diaz, of all people. He’d faced killers before, and on paper Nick Diaz was a walking punching bag, a gimme fight. Silva can argue test results all he wants, but the NSAC isn’t some shanty-lab in Hong Kong. The timing of the test results are suspect; the results themselves are not.

The question lingers: “Why, Anderson, Why?” Why risk tarnishing your legacy? Maybe Anderson was afraid to suffer that third loss. Maybe he was afraid to let down his fans and country yet again. Maybe he thought he needed that edge to perform, that kick-in-the-butt to get over the hump in rehab or in training. To me, his legacy as the greatest striker and arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of our generation will remain. Unfortunately for Silva, I seem to be the minority, and from this moment forward, like Barry Bonds, there will always be an asterisk next to Anderson Silva and his accomplishments.

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