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MMA Steroid Busts: The Definitive Timeline [UPDATED With Testosterone Busts]

Is steroid use an epidemic in MMA? Or are most of the fighters who have tested positive simply the victims of inept athletic commissions, shady nutritional supplements, and tainted goat meat? After Josh Barnett’s latest chemical misadventure took down Affliction, we decided to round up every steroid bust in the sport since early 2002, when the Nevada State Athletic Commission began testing MMA fighters for performance-enhancing drugs. The results…may shock you.

Update, 11/5/13: Beginning with Chael Sonnen in 2010, several MMA fighters have failed drug tests due to elevated testosterone, without being caught for a specific steroid. To keep things orderly around here, we’ve quarantined those busts on page 2.

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JOSH BARNETT (Pt. 1)
Caught: 4/22/02, following his TKO victory over Randy Couture at UFC 36.
Tested positive for: Boldenone, Nandrolone, and Fluoxymesterone
Punishment: A six-month suspension from the NSAC and the loss of his UFC heavyweight title. Barnett fought the steroid charge, and didn’t compete again in the U.S. until PRIDE 32, four and a half years later. (See: Belfort, Nastula)
In his own words: “I am a fighter, not a lawyer. I am innocent, and I should be fighting right now.”
Repeat offender: Barnett actually tested positive once before, for two different anabolic steroids, following his submission via strikes victory over Bobby Hoffman at UFC 34 in November 2001. Josh was let off with a warning (which went unheeded, apparently) and the incident was never officially reported — but according to Sherdog’s Mike Sloan, Barnett’s first positive steroid test is what inspired Nevada to begin regularly testing UFC fighters for performance enhancing drugs.


TIM SYLVIA
Caught: 10/7/03, following his first-round knockout of Gan McGee at UFC 44.
Tested positive for: Stanozolol
Punishment: $10,000 fine and a six-month suspension from the NSAC. Sylvia voluntarily vacated his heavyweight title following his positive steroid test.
In his own words: “[A]fter I fought Ricco [Rodriguez], I was in for a long layoff. I decided to try some things and maybe change my physique a little bit and get in better shape. But whatever I used, it came back positive. I don’t know how that happened. I did it so long ago and I was way off it before I fought McGee. I think they found it in my fat cells. I guess it stays in there for a while, huh?…I heard what Josh [Barnett] had used, so I used something different and I was only using it to trim my physique. I thought that what I was using, it was going to be out by the time I fought McGee. I fought Gan and apparently it wasn’t out.”


KIMO LEOPOLDO (Pt. 1)
Caught: 8/16/04, following his TKO loss to Ken Shamrock at UFC 48.
Tested positive for: Stanozolol
Punishment: $5,000 fine and a six-month suspension from the NSAC.
In his own words: “I wasn’t quite on par for that fight, and yeah, I did use some substances, and I did do some Winstrol in that fight, but at that time it was so early that I didn’t know I was going to be tested. That doesn’t justify it, but I wasn’t using it as a performance enhancer to be strong or whatever. It was just something… an extra little kick.”
Leading by example: “Yes, I used steroids in my past to help support my efforts as a professional athlete/fighter. However, my experiences whether negative or positive have given me greater insight into the crutches of life’s downfalls and my decisions today come from experiences. I will say that my choices and decision-making ability are educated decisions and made from a position of informed consent, as opposed to blind guidance. I can be honest about my past and can look a fighter in the eye and tell him/her with great confidence that use of illicit substances is not worth the future health issues it creates nor is it worth the risk they are taking against their license.”


NATE MARQUARDT
Caught: 8/15/05, following his unanimous decision win over Ivan Salaverry at Ultimate Fight Night 1.
Tested positive for: Nandrolone
Punishment: A suspension from the NSAC that was lifted on January 5th, after two separate follow-up tests came up negative for the drug.
In his own words: “I never thought it’d be an issue. I’d been taking some over-the-counter supplements at a Max Muscle store. It was something like what Mark McGwire took, androstenedione. I never thought of that stuff being tested. It was a stupid mistake. People are going to believe what they want to believe, but I’ve been clean in my last three fights — I’m not taking anything that’s not independently tested anymore — and I’m fighting just as well as I ever have…I know some guys just knowingly take steroids, but there’s not enough [information] about what causes false positives, about contamination risks, all that. You have to watch out for things. We don’t always know what not to take. That’s the real gray area. That’s my story.”

KIMO LEOPOLDO (Pt. 2)
Caught: 7/20/06, two days before he was scheduled to fight Bas Rutten at WFA: King of the Streets.
Tested positive for: Stanozolol
Punishment: Leopoldo was pulled from the match with Rutten, but received no official punishment. Kimo took a fight in London two months after the WFA incident (a submission loss against Dave Legeno), and fought in Hawaii just one week after that, losing to Wes Sims by TKO.
In the words of Bas Rutten: “Every guy who uses steroids to fight is a fucking pussy. For him to do this shit after all the promotion he did, all the shit he talked about me — taking me out in minutes and all that bullshit — apparently that was the steroids talking, right?”
In Kimo’s own words: “I actually had a prescribed medication that was in my system. I had a knee surgery that I had approximately a year ago, so my doctor prescribed me a few things to help me out in my recovery, and this was taken before I even had a clue about this fight with Bas. I was completely done taking it when I found out about this fight…I really believed that it would be out of my system. I knew I was going to get tested, after my previous thing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission. I know no matter what now every fight is going to be like that. Now, knowing this and I’m a pretty intelligent guy, when I step into this doctor’s office, if I had any clue and I was going to cheat, I would have had fake pee. There’s a lot of ways around tests if you want to cheat, but I had no reason to do that because I felt I was correct…I don’t want to sound like one of those guys who says they were set up, but I don’t feel like I was done right.”


VITOR BELFORT
Caught: 10/26/06, following his unanimous decision loss to Dan Henderson at PRIDE 32.
Tested positive for: 4-Hydroxytestosterone
Punishment: $10,000 fine and a nine-month suspension from the NSAC.
In his own words: “I bought a supplement called ‘Max Tribostak’ at Max Muscle in La Habra, California, which contains 4-Hydroxytestosterone. I had no idea that a supplement bought over the counter at a vitamin store would contain a substance that is illegal in the state of Nevada.”


PAWEL NASTULA
Caught: 10/26/06, following his submission loss against Josh Barnett at PRIDE 32.
Tested positive for: Nandrolone
Punishment: $6,500 fine and a nine-month suspension from the NSAC.
In his own defense: “Nastula has denied the veracity of the test results, claiming that the stimulants were absorbed into his system from over-the-counter supplements and that nandrolone, a mass-building substance, would not have been useful to him as he has not gained any muscle mass since coming to PRIDE.”


STEPHAN BONNAR (Pt. 1)
Caught: 11/3/06, following his second unanimous decision loss to Forrest Griffin at UFC 62.
Tested positive for: Boldenone
Punishment: $5,000 fine and a nine-month suspension from the NSAC.
In his own words: “I was desperate. My right elbow had been bad for a while, and I hurt it bad getting ready for Rashad [Evans on June 28]. Right after that fight, I thought I’d have some time off to do some therapy, rehab and heal. And five days later, I get a call to fight Forrest in a month and a half. I was worried. I was looking for something to speed up the healing. I just was worried I was not going to be able to fight, and they needed me. This wasn’t an undercard fight; it was the main event. Pulling out was not an option.”


KIT COPE
Caught: 1/25/07, following his submission via strikes loss to Rob McCullough at WEC 25.
Tested positive for: Boldenone
Punishment: $1,167 fine and a nine-month suspension from the NSAC.
In his own words: “I got a complete reconstruction of the AC joint in my shoulder which sucks a lot. After that the doctor a shot a substance called Boldenone and that is an anabolic substance…What that does is basically, in athletes, doctors will give them those substances which increases protein faster and help me heal faster. It was definitely not for performance… This stuff can stay in your system for 18 months, very similar to Nandrolone, which a lot of people test positive for…I only scored a 7 and it’s detectable at 5, so in a few days, a few pisses, it would have been gone. Below 5 it is not findable. It’s not that the substance is not in your body but they test for the trash it leaves behind…so it wasn’t active in my body just the shit it left. Which proves it was very old. So every bit of common sense shows I was not taking it for a performance enhancer.”


JOHNNIE MORTON
Caught: 6/13/07, following his 38-second knockout loss against Bernard Ackah at Dynamite!! USA.
Tested positive for: Unspecified anabolic steroids. Morton’s pre-fight urine test came back as positive for a very elevated T/E (testosterone) ratio — 83.9, when the average for an athlete is 6.
Punishment: $2,500 fine and an indefinite suspension from the California State Athletic Commission. Morton’s $100,000 purse was also withheld after he refused to take a post-fight drug test. He hasn’t competed since.


ROYCE GRACIE
Caught: 6/14/07, following his unanimous decision win over Kazushi Sakuraba at Dynamite!! USA.
Tested positive for: Nandrolone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC. Gracie hasn’t competed since.
In his own words: “I have no idea what they’re talking about. Look at my first UFC. 178 [pounds]. Look at my last fight. 180. For accusing me of using drugs…I never gained a pound in my life. It’s not like I went from 178 to 200 pounds. It’s ridiculous.”

JORGE ORTIZ
Caught: 6/26/07, following his TKO loss to Jesse Taylor at Total Combat 21.
Tested positive for: Nandrolone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.


PHIL BARONI
Caught: 7/7/07, following his technical submission loss to Frank Shamrock at Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Baroni.
Tested positive for: Boldenone and Stanozolol
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a six-month suspension from the CSAC, reduced from one year after an appeal; follow-up tests with Baroni’s urine sample came back negative for the drugs.
In his own words: “I don’t do stuff like that. I don’t need it. Being big and strong has never been something I needed help with.”


SEAN SHERK
Caught: 7/19/07, following his unanimous decision win against Hermes Franca at UFC 73.
Tested positive for: Nandrolone
Punishment: The loss of his UFC lightweight title, a $2,500 fine, and a one-year suspension from the CSAC which was reduced to six-months after Sherk made an appeal arguing that the testing lab (Quest Laboratories) used dirty vials and botched the chain of custody for his sample.
In his own words: “I didn’t know you could go into a store like a GNC and buy something that would have illegal stuff in it, but I guess you can. I was stunned. I didn’t know that. I’ve also started doing my own pre-testing, which I’ll do before every fight now just to be sure…

I took the polygraph test three times to try and prove that I was telling the truth. I know they say polygraphs aren’t 100% reliable, but after three tests you’d think that if I was lying it would have shown up in at least one of them. I’ve got nothing to hide. I’ve always said that and tried to prove that. I have absolutely nothing to hide.

I’ve done everything I can do to clear my name. It’s up to each individual to look at the facts and decide for themselves whether they believe me or not. The problem is that a lot of people don’t bother to look at the facts first. They just hear ‘positive test’ and they look at me and what I’ve done and think, ‘Oh, he’s got to be on something.’”


HERMES FRANCA
Caught: 7/19/07, following his unanimous decision loss to Sean Sherk at UFC 73.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.
In his own words: “I would like to apologize to my fans, the UFC, my students and family. I offer only an explanation and not an excuse. I made a decision during a difficult time in my training for the fight that I regret. About 8 weeks out from the fight, I badly injured my ankle during a training session. For the following week I had rested it, rehabbed it and tried to work around the injury. It was obvious that I could not train as required.

I contacted the UFC and explained my injury and how I could not possibly train to the level I thought I would need in order to be properly prepared for my fight. I asked the UFC if we could push the fight out to the following UFC with the chance that it could happen. They explained that they could not do that and that the card had been set and it isn’t as easy as just moving around a fight. I totally understood their position. They asked me to keep them informed should I not be able to fight…

I had not fought for 5 months. Fighting is literally how I put food on my wife and child’s table and how I pay my bills. As a fighter though, even at this level, I live a simple life and I literally live from fight to fight. Not getting a paycheck for another few months and losing my chance to fight Sean for the title was overpowering. Fighting is the life I chose and I love it…

At this point, I was desperate and needed anything I could to get my injury as close to healing as possible and be able to recover from the daily training regimen I was going through. I made the shortsighted choice to hopefully accelerate the healing process and allow me to keep training. Under the pressure of literally not being able to pay next month’s bills I made a choice. I had to fight and did whatever I could to do so.

I hope my fans, students, the UFC and the public accept my sincere apology. Whatever punishment is dictated by the California Athletic Commission, I will understand. I would like to get through this very difficult time and the times ahead and get back to fighting. All the best to my fans and much thanks to my family and friends that continue to support me during these times.”

ANTHONY TORRES
Caught: 10/3/07, following his TKO loss to Jess Liaudin at UFC 75.
Tested positive for: Boldenone. Torres was the first fighter to be caught by a UFC-administered steroid test.
Punishment: Torres was released from his UFC contract. Since there was no athletic commission that had jurisdiction where the fight took place (London, England), he wasn’t fined or suspended from competition, although U.S. athletic commissions were informed of his positive test. Torres competed four months later in his native Hawaii, losing a decision to Michael Brightmon, and hasn’t fought since.


BILL MAHOOD
Caught: 10/15/07, following his submission via rib injury loss to Bobby Southworth at Strikeforce’s first Playboy Mansion show.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.
In his own words: “I did in fact start the use of an anabolic agent approximately the third week in August. This was at a time that I thought I was done fighting and was suffering from a chronic joint inflammation of my hip. I did not want to miss the opportunity of fighting for a great promoter like Strikeforce…I do believe that there was no benefit from the amount ingested. I still tested positive and for that I would like to apologize to Strikeforce, Bodog Fight, and the sport of MMA in general.”
Oddly enough: Despite owning up to the steroid use, Mahood tried to appeal his suspension anyway. He returned to action this past March, scoring a submission win over Marcus Hicks at a King of the Cage event in Edmonton.

ADAM SMITH
Caught: 10/17/07, following his unanimous decision loss to Dewey Cooper at Strikeforce’s first Playboy Mansion show.
Tested positive for: Nandrolone and Stanozolol — as well as cocaine and marijuana.
Punishment: $4,000 fine and a 21-month suspension from the CSAC. Smith earned just $500 for the fight.
And the cherry on the failure cake: “Adam Smith’s appeal was dropped after he failed to appear at his scheduled hearing.”

JASON WINTHERS
Caught: 11/19/07, following his TKO loss against Richard Blake at Rebel Fights: Unleashed Fury.
Tested positive for: Stanozolol and the veterinary steroid Trenbolone — as well as methadone and morphine. Sounds like somebody’s been partying with Adam Smith…
Punishment: $4,000 fine and a 21-month suspension from the CSAC.


RUBEN VILLAREAL
Caught: 11/28/07, following his TKO loss to Jimmy Ambriz at WCO: Kerr vs. Gavin.
Tested positive for: 4-Hydroxytestosterone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.
In his own words: “I like to take an estrogen blocker, and at this particular time there was a new estrogen blocker on the market. I went to the local store, and anybody can pick this stuff up…Unfortunately with my arrogance, I had no idea that it had an andro stack in it…I should have known better. You need to know what you’re taking. Even if you go to GNC or Wal-Mart, there’s products out there that will test you dirty if you’re not careful.”


DENNIS HALLMAN
Caught: 11/29/07, following his submission win over Jeremiah Metcalf at Strikeforce: Four Men Enter, One Man Survives.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone and Nandrolone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.
In his own words: “I took steroids to help my neck injury heal after I had a discectomy on my C-5, 6 and 7. I wasn’t taking them to get huge or strong, just to heal faster. I honestly think that taking steroids is counter-productive for MMA, they do not improve how you punch or how good you are at subs. They actually hurt your cardio which is the biggest factor in MMA. That being said, I made the decision to take steroids, even though I believe that in my circumstance they should be allowed (for healing injuries)… Looking back, it was a good thing getting suspended. It showed me that I didn’t have to fight every time a fight came up. I had fought unprepared and unhealthy many times in my career. The year break showed me that there will be other fights. It kinda made me grow up a little as a fighter.”

ALEXANDER CRISPIM
Caught: 11/29/07, following his unanimous decision win over Clint Coronel at Strikeforce: Four Men Enter, One Man Survives.
Tested positive for: Desoxymethyltestosterone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.


CARINA DAMM
Caught: 5/15/08, following her submission win over Sophie Bagherdai at Femme Fatale Fighting 4.
Tested positive for: Nandrolone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.
You’ve come a long way, baby: Damm became the first female MMA fighter to test positive for steroids.
Another cunning stunt: In June 2013, Damm caught a six-month suspension and a $550 fine from the Ohio Athletic Commission following her decision loss to Jessica Eye at NAAFS: “Fight Night In The Flats 9,” for submitting a urine sample that was determined to be a substance other than urine. Damm was given a surprise drug test (along with five other fighters) during an intermission at the NAAFS event, shortly before she was scheduled to compete. Each sample came back clean for banned substances, but Damm’s raised suspicion, and was later verified as lacking the elements found in urine. Said Ohio Athletic Commission Executive Director Bernie Profato: ”Even the doctor, when he first handed the sample to me, he said, ‘I’m not a lab person, but two things here. One, this is kind of clear, and two, it’s cold!’” Damm competed two weeks later in Rio de Janeiro, and TKO’d Jessica Suelen in 49 seconds.


ALEXANDRE NOGUEIRA
Caught: 7/7/08, following his TKO loss to Jose Aldo at WEC 34.
Tested positive for: Boldenone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.
In his own words: “I never used anything…If I used something it would be growth hormones, which is what every top athlete usually uses. I took the usual supplements — Glutamine, Creatine and Myoplex. If I had taken it, I would be very aggressive in the fight, and those who saw it realize that I was not aggressive. And this type of anabolic steroid is to get fat, to gain weight, and is used on animals. I had seminars and I had only eaten in restaurants specializing in barbecued meat, and they use this in cattle and goats there and they may have used it in any animal that I ate.”


ANTONIO SILVA
Caught: 8/21/08, following his TKO win over Justin Eilers at EliteXC: Unfinished Business.
Tested positive for: Boldenone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC. The following January, Silva thumbed his abnormally large nose at the suspension and took a fight in Japan, defeating Yoshihiro “Kiss” Nakao by first-round TKO due to injury.
In his own words: “I did not use the steroid Boldenone, or any other steroid of prohibited substance. I dont agree and never have agreed with the use of this kind of product in order to win, for this is cheating. I will go to the full extent of my power and the law to prove my innocence in this matter.”
In his manager’s words: Silva’s positive test for Boldenone was caused by his use of Novadex, a testosterone-booster that Silva uses to counteract the low testosterone levels caused by his acromegaly. “He has to treat it,” said Alex Davis. “He spends between $6,000 and $8,000 a month just on medicine for it. He needs to be able to keep fighting to make a living. If it’s between Antonio’s health and pleasing the athletic commission, we have to choose his health.”


EDWIN DEWEES
Caught: 8/21/08, following his TKO loss against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at Affliction: Banned.
Tested positive for: A massive amount of Nandrolone. The CSAC’s Bill Douglas said that the amount of the steroid in Dewees’ system — 499ng/ml, if you want to get technical — was “hard to explain.”
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.


CHRIS LEBEN
Caught: 11/3/08, following his decision loss to Michael Bisping at UFC 89.
Tested positive for: Stanozolol
Punishment: Forfeit of one-third of his fight purse and a nine-month suspension from the UFC.
In his own words: “I’ve really done everything I can to turn my life around, and this is a huge setback for me. But it’s something I will have to deal with. During my time off from fighting, I want to speak to kids about the dangers of using performance-enhancing agents and let them know it just doesn’t get you ahead in life. Of course, this is a hard hit for me monetarily, but more so this is embarrassing for me and for all my fans.”


KIRILL SIDELNIKOV
Caught: 3/3/09, following his TKO loss to Paul Buentello at Affliction: Day of Reckoning.
Tested positive for: Stanozolol
Punishment: $2,500 fine and one-year suspension from the CSAC. In May, Sidelnikov competed at an M-1 Challenge event in Russia (where the CSAC suspension wasn’t recognized), earning a submission win over Rezvan Danyalov.
In M-1’s own words: “In preparation for his Affliction debut against Paul Buentello in January, Kirill spent some time training outside of the Imperial Team family in St. Petersburg. Kirill indicated that during that time away he began to experience complications from a broken nose that he had recently sustained. Not wanting to miss any training time leading up to ‘Day of Reckoning,’ Kirill followed the advice of a coach not affiliated with M-1 who gave him a nose spray commonly used in Russia to help treat some of his symptoms. It is M-1′s belief that the nose spray is what contained the Stanozol. For those that are skeptical of this explanation, we believe Kirill’s account is true based in large part to his physique. If he had been using large amounts of Stanozol on a regular basis, we believe that the frame of his upper body would have contained leaner muscle that had more definition. While we are not citing youth as an excuse, we feel we need to offer the public an explanation and we attribute the mistake in part to the fact that Kirill is just 20 years of age.”


KEN SHAMROCK
Caught: 3/11/09, following his submission win over super-heavyweight tubbaguts Ross Clifton at WarGods: Valentine’s Eve Massacre.
Tested positive for: 19-Norandrosterone, 19-Noretiocholanolone, and Stanozolol
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.
In his manager’s words: “Ken was taking legal over-the-counter products, and based upon our preliminary research, I’m investigating if those products were the result of these findings,” said Rod Donohoo.
In his brother’s words: “Ken did [steroids] his whole life. Why do you think that his mind is so fried? Why do you think he crumbles before the big fights? He’s got no psyche. He let steroids give him a false sense of security and the moment that stuff is gone he’s no longer superman.”


JOSH BARNETT (Pt. 2)

Caught: 7/21/09, 11 days before he was scheduled to fight Fedor Emelianenko in the main event of Affliction: Trilogy.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone
Punishment: The eternal shame of single-handedly taking down an entire MMA organization and costing 23 other fighters their paychecks; the likelihood of never being licensed to fight in the U.S. again.
In his own words: “I never once thought there would be a problem.”

COLE PROVINCE
Caught: 8/17/09, following his unanimous decision win over Fredson Paixao at WEC 42.
Tested positive for: Methasterone
Punishment: $4,000 fine and a nine-month suspension from the NSAC; his win against Paixao was changed to a no-contest.
In his own words: “Province…is convinced the positive test resulted from his use of the supplement SOS 500 from Double Dragon Pharmaceuticals. ‘I wasn’t trying to get any super-human strength or anything like that, I just wanted to get some extra water into my muscles,’ Province told Sherdog.com. ‘I didn’t know it was banned but, still, with that said, I am responsible. I should have checked into it but I just want to make it clear that I took an over-the-counter supplement, not steroids.’”


VINICIUS QUIEROZ
Caught: 11/2/10, following his submission loss to Rob Broughton at UFC 120.
Tested positive for: Stanozolol
Punishment: Quieroz was released by the UFC after failing a random drug screening administered by the promotion before their London event, and was forced to forfeit an undisclosed discretionary bonus. The UFC has informed the Nevada State Athletic Commission of Quieroz’s failed test, which could affect his ability to secure a license to fight in the U.S.
In his own words: “I was caught by surprise with this doping thing. I’d never use something that could ruin my career, something that could bring me any kind of problems…I won some imported supplements and I used it, and there were some prescribed medicines too…For what I’ve heard, the quantity of this substance on my test was very small, and my coach said that if I really had used it to have some kind of advantage on the fights, I’d have to take much more than that, so it wouldn’t change anything. I don’t have a single reason why to use it, this is a drug for you to lose weight and get stone, and I don’t have any reasons to lose weight and fight a huge guy.”

JAMES IRVIN
Caught: 3/2/11, following his submission loss to Jorge Oliveira at Tachi Palace Fights 7
Tested positive for: Epitrenbolone
Punishment: Fine (undisclosed amount) and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.


THIAGO SILVA
Caught: 3/29/11, following his unanimous decision win over Brandon Vera at UFC 125.
Tested positive for: Nothing. Silva was temporarily suspended when the urine he provided for his UFC 125 drug test was deemed “inconsistent with human urine,” suggesting that he “submitted an adulterated and/or substituted specimen for testing for the urinalysis.” In a hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission on April 7th, Silva admitted that he submitted a synthetic urine sample to mask the fact that he had received injections of an unspecified steroid 45 and 30 days out from the Vera bout to help him recover from a back injury.
Punishment: $33,750 fine and a one-year suspension from the NSAC.
In his own words: “I just want to apologize for what I did. I did what I did because my back was very, very bad a couple months (before the fight). I had not fought for one year. I was completely broke. I have a family. People depend on my money. I was desperate to do something. I know what I did is wrong. Like I said, I’m so sorry. I had my reasons. People depend on my money, and I had to give them support.”


CRISTIANE ‘CRIS CYBORG’ SANTOS
Caught:
1/6/12, following her knockout win against Hiroko Yamanaka at Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal.
Tested positive for: Stanozolol
Punishment: $2,500 fine and the suspension of her license by the CSAC. Santos was also stripped of her Strikeforce women’s featherweight title and the result of her win over Yamanaka was changed to a no contest.
In her own words: “While I was preparing myself for my last fight I was having a difficult time cutting weight and used a dietary supplement that I was assured was safe and not prohibited from use in sports competition. It was never my intention to obtain an unfair advantage over Hiroko, mislead StrikeForce, the Commission or my fans. I train harder than any fighter in MMA and do not need drugs to win in the cage, and I have proven this time and time again! My only mistake is not verifying the diet aid with my doctor beforehand, and understanding that it was not approved for use in the ring. Unfortunately in the end I suffer the consequences and must accept the responsibility for my actions. I will do everything I can to show my fans that I can still compete at the professional level without the use of any prohibited substances, and ask God’s forgiveness for my mistake.”


MUHAMMAD ‘KING MO’ LAWAL
Caught: 1/17/12, following his knockout win against Lorenz Larkin at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine.
Tested positive for: Drostanalone
Punishment: Lawal faces a one-year suspension, a fine, and the overturning of his win to a no-contest.
In his own words: “I’m very surprised about this. I am very careful about what I put into my body. I’ve never tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug. I’ve gone through, and still welcome, Olympic-style testing. I will do whatever is necessary to get to the bottom of this. I’m not a cheater. I might cheat at video games, but I never cheat at fighting.”


RAFAEL “FEIJAO” CAVALCANTE
Caught: 6/15/12, following his 33-second submission of Mike Kyle at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier.
Tested positive for: Stanozolol
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC; his win over Kyle has been changed to a no-contest.
In his manager’s words“I believe in his innocence, and we’re fighting it. We stand behind him. There’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t make sense.”


STEPHAN BONNAR (Pt. 2)
Caught: 11/2/12, following his first-round TKO loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 153. Bonnar retired from MMA immediately after the fight.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone
Punishment: A totally meaningless one-year suspension handed down by the UFC.


JOEY BELTRAN
Caught: 1/10/13, following his decision win over Igor Pokrajac at UFC on FX 6.
Tested positive for: Nandrolone
Punishment: A nine-month suspension from the UFC, retroactive to December 14th. His win will be changed to a no-contest.
In his own words: “I can say without a shadow of a doubt I did not inject Nandrolone into my body. I am sorry to my family and friends for the shame this brought to any of you. I promise soon the whole story will be told and I will go through whatever is necessary to find the reason for this positive test. I am at fault for taking a supplement or perhaps combination of something that caused my test result. My team and I will seek the truth. I am sorry once again and truly apologize to the people that matter the most to me.”


THIAGO TAVARES
Caught: 2/6/13, following his first-round knockout loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC on FX 7.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone
Punishment: A nine-month suspension from the UFC.


HERMAN TERRADO

Caught: 4/24/14, following his majority draw against Justin Baesman at Bellator 115.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone
Punishment: A nine-month suspension from the NSAC and a $1,000 fine.


KEVIN CASEY
Caught: 7/30/14, following his first-round TKO win against Bubba Bush at UFC 175.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone
Punishment: TBA
In his own words: “I apologize to UFC & the NSAC for my irresponsible action. I made a bad decision trying to cut weight. We are competing in a cleaner sport.”


MIKE KING
Caught: 8/13/14, following his second-round technical submission loss to Cathal Pendred at UFC Fight Night 46 in Dublin.
Tested positive for: Nandrolone
Punishment: A nine-month suspension retroactive to the event, and the forfeiture of his $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus. King has also been released by the UFC.
In his own words:Following my bout against Cathal Pendred at UFC Fight Night Dublin: McGregor vs. Brandao on July 19, 2014 I tested positive for the banned substance Nandrolone. The consequences for my conduct are truly significant: the life changing $50,000 Fight of The Night bonus I was awarded has been taken away, I have been informed that my UFC promotional agreement is being terminated, I have been placed on a nine month suspension, and I have publicly humiliated myself. I accept full responsibility for my actions and decisions and make no excuses.

I want to apologize to my opponent and friend Cathal Pendred, the UFC, Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, coaches, team mates, management, friends, family, and most importantly my fans. I believe in the power of redemption and second chances. I will work tirelessly to prove I am a trustworthy person who deserves the honor of competing at the highest level in the sport I love.”


BRIAN ORTEGA
Caught: 8/22/14, following his first-round submission win over Mike De La Torre at UFC on FOX 12.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a nine-month suspension from the CSAC. Ortega’s victory was changed to a no-contest.
In his own words: “In preparation for my UFC debut, I used a banned substance called drostanalone. It was an irresponsible decision that I will regret for the rest of my life. I apologize to my family, friends, fans, the UFC and everyone else who was affected by my selfish actions. It should be known that my coaches were totally unaware of my decisions, and I am ashamed that I let down the people who believed in me more than I believed in myself. Going forward, I’d rather lose a fair fight to any opponent, than defeat myself the way I have done.”

Honorable mentions:
- Jeff Monson, for openly admitting past steroid use (even though he was never caught before or after a fight) and suggesting that steroids should be legalized.

- Kevin Randleman, for submitting a urine sample that lacked human hormones, following his submission loss to Mauricio Rua at PRIDE 32 in October 2006. Said NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer: “It was either allegedly non-human urine or urine from a dead human being.” Randleman admitted that he submitted a fake sample because of the large amounts of painkillers and antibiotics he was taking at the time due to a lung infection. He was suspended from competition for one year.

- Josh Burkman, who was scheduled to compete on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter until he tested positive for Stanozolol in a drug screening administered before the show. Burkman received no punishment, and was allowed to be a cast-member on TUF‘s second season.

- Jason Reinhardt, who admitted to using steroids for the majority of his career in a forum thread on mixedmartialarts.com.

- Dennis Siver, whose UFC 168 drug test came up positive for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a drug typically used post-steroid cycle to restore the size of the testicles and kickstart testosterone production.

- Wanderlei Silva, for fleeing the premises when a sample collector sent by the NSAC showed up at his gym to administer a random drug test in May 2014.

- Chael Sonnen, for testing positive for a pair of estrogen blockers, as well as HGH, EPO, and hCG following a random drug test in May 2014.

- Ali Bagautinov, whose failed a random-drug test for EPO before his decision loss to Demetrious Johnson at UFC 174.

Fun fact: Of the aforementioned fighters who tested positive for steroids after fights* 18 were successful in those fights, while 23 were unsuccessful, and one fought to a draw. So, the jury’s still out on that whole “competitive advantage” thing.

* We’re including Thiago Silva in this tally because he admitted to steroid use after being caught, even though he only tested positive for fake pee. 

Steroid busts by year:
’02: 1
’03: 1
’04: 1
’05: 1
’06: 4
’07: 14 (!)
’08: 5
’09: 4
’10: 1
’11: 2
’12: 4
’13: 2
’14: 4

Steroid busts by commission:
NSAC: 13
CSAC: 24
UFC’s independent/international testing: 7

Have we left out any major ‘roid fails? Let us know in the comments section and we’ll update the list…

Last updated: 8/24/14

CONTINUE TO PAGE 2 FOR OUR TESTOSTERONE BUST TIMELINE….

next page >

Cagepotato Comments

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leo.herbie- July 19, 2013 at 3:13 pm
Mark Kerr should be an honorable mention. He admitted to not only abusing pain killers but also steroids.
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realfighterfan- March 30, 2013 at 11:50 pm
NOONE is a bigger cheater Than Nate "THE CHEAT" Marquardt. He failed at least t tests in one year for elavated testosterone levels even though eh kn ew he was going to be tested and the exact day. If that doesn't tell you how high he had his JUICE levels jacked up between fights. Dana should have kept bis word and never given nate "THE CHEAT" his 4th chance and let him back in the UFC. I'm sure thats why he has been getting KO'd BAD KARMA
mgunn- April 10, 2013 at 11:36 pm
I would say Chael's right up there and soooo sneaky he gets to continue to (ab)use it to this day. He would never be the size he is now without it. TRT makes it possible for athletes to overtrain which would normally bring T down but then they supplement it back to "normal" which is really elevated.
realfighterfan- March 30, 2013 at 11:56 pm
They don't even test for HGH, EPO's, synthetic testosterone, Victor Conte's designer steroids that are undetectable with CURRENT testing being done in MMA or blood doping. Kyle Kingsbury brought Conte's steroids into MMA and made them available to fighters shortly after Conte was released from prison and ordered by a federal judge to have no contact with anyone associated with major league baseball. Kingsbury was a well known steroid abuser in college and supplied countless athletes at arizona with steroids. You have to be atotal IDIOT to get busted cheating in MMA. The wealthier the fighter the better more cutting edge PED's they are on. No doubt in my mind GSP is the dirtiest player in the game and some day will be remembered as teh Lance armstrong of MMA
enrikk- May 31, 2012 at 4:01 am
60% of fighters caught using PEDs also lose their fights? I'm not sure which one is 'insult' and which one is 'injury', but it can't be smart to put those two together.

If anyone wants to de-motivate fighters from abusing, just remind them to take the 'PE' out of the "PED"
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Fisicoculturismo- September 26, 2011 at 7:47 am
Great article on steroids in MMA. I`m going to forward this to my friend who's crazy about MMA and this is gonna make him heat up hahahaha Fisicoculturismo completo
Lusthaus- February 13, 2011 at 12:51 am
First of all thanks to cage potato for this excellent summary.

I'm uping that thread since the strikeforce heavyweights tournament was going on.

For me it is not a question if steroids and stimulants ! are taken, the question is how intelligently the fighter can hide it before testing. Those rules apply in MMA like in any other pro sport.

Some fighters do not even bother about visual signs of missuse like steroid acne on their shoulder and back, like Stephan Bonnar in his last fight at The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale.

Just pay attention when the camera is moving closer to the fighter, but the man behind the camera might have commandment to avoid the critical view and angle.

Even in womans mma do have a look at Chris Cyborg. Heir face is expressing roid usage over many years.

So, my answere to that question is definately yes on a very large scale, unfortunately. It comes down to a battle and race pharma, application planning on one hand side and testing methods of the commissions on the other.

Cheers, Lusthaus
rearnakedchickenchoke- November 2, 2010 at 2:02 pm
anything that ends is "lol" just can't be taken seriously anymore and should be off the list.
wortelo- April 19, 2012 at 1:10 am
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rageinthecageladies- October 24, 2010 at 3:48 pm
Where is Brock on the list or do they forget to test the big lug?
bloodsportmmadotcom- September 17, 2010 at 2:45 pm
Fun fact: Of the aforementioned fighters who were accused of steroid use after fights, 11 were successful in those fights, while 18 were unsuccessful. So, the jury’s still out in that whole “competitive advantage” thing…

Steroid use isnt just a one bout thing - it becomes part of an athlete's regimen over long periods of time and you cannot simply say 11-18 means there is no competitive advantage gained - how many of those on your list are ELITE level competitors who fought for championships and/or are still fighting for championships today? There's at least a dozen big time players on that list which would seemingly define epidemic... no?

And for any athlete to still be using the 'I didnt know what was in it' excuse is about valid as a Tyone Biggums telling you he's got sugar on his lips... totally unacceptable in 2010 to play the ignorant card as any athlete from high all the way up to the pros has seen the fallout from PED scandals...
HardKnockLife- May 22, 2010 at 9:32 am
Great article. Thanks for the effort of compiling! No matter what sport, I think it is important to have this information available to help educate and keep steroid use out of sports. Whether you believe the stories or not, there is too much of the 'I didn't know what I was taking' excuses. This 'not knowing' can trap many young athletes and ruin careers. The more its talked about and recognized the less it will occur.
Mdot50- May 21, 2010 at 2:34 pm
How can K Randleman get urine from a "dead" human? How the fuck is that possible? Cut 'em open and drain out the bladder? The max muscle and gnc excuse is like being sex addict when you cheat on your broad.
SupermanPunch- July 31, 2009 at 9:51 am
Why do these results always show up after the fact?
Why not test in time to get results before the bout??

off to MaxMuscle
I Tap 2 Fat Chicks- July 30, 2009 at 4:49 pm
Props to the store Max Muscle getting used in at least 2 excuses; u just can't buy that kinda publicity...
NECROPHYTE- July 30, 2009 at 3:59 pm
Honorable mention just because:BROCK LESNAR
if u got hate in ur heart, let it out

Offenses: Arrested for illegally possessing a "large amount of steroids" in 2001. Ignored a no-contact rule for quarterbacks during scrimmages while trying to make it in the NFL and drilled the piss out of Chiefs QB Damon Huard. Describes himself as a "blue-collar redneck." Openly homophobic. Sports a large penis tattoo down the middle of his chest.

Notable quote: "I don't like gays. Write that down in your little notebook. I don't like gays."


realfighterfan- April 11, 2013 at 2:28 am
How about Shane Carwin receiving LARGE quanity of steroids from illegal Pharmacy that was shutdown by the Feds a few years ago. Carwin is as DIRTY as they come. Gee I wonder how much of that 5 year supply was for his buddy nate "THE CHEAT" Marquardt? Carwin should have been prosecuted but Feds were satisfied with shutiing down the illegal pharmacy and putting a few pharmacists in prison. Carwin actualy signed for over $10k worth of steroids at the front door of his own home.

http://www.helium.com/items/1946860-ufc-contender-shane-carwin-linked-to-steroids-by-the-dea
NECROPHYTE- July 30, 2009 at 3:47 pm
lmao @ 'ROID RAGE IN THE CAGE'!
NECROPHYTE- July 30, 2009 at 3:46 pm
Mothafuckin Ken Shamrock was jacked up hardcore!

Cyborg's next 2 make the list...
Poopchute Boxing- July 30, 2009 at 3:45 pm
this is by far the largest post ive seen on here LOL. You did forget 1 person - CAPSLOCKHAL or his newly registered egos are definately havin roid rage.

On a side note i think that we should do an overseas MMA show with all these guys called 'ROID RAGE IN THE CAGE'
Hamma Fist Elbow Bam-Bam- July 30, 2009 at 2:47 pm
Is it naive of me to believe Bigfoot Silva? I mean, he clearly has acromegaly.
halfbreed23- July 30, 2009 at 1:24 pm
So steroid offenders were 10-18 in those fights. Maybe it shows pre-fight fear.
NomadRip- July 30, 2009 at 1:13 pm
I was noticing that too. Doesn't seem to make them think that it doesn't seem to help or be worth it if only 10 of those caught even won their fights.
Videodrome_NOW- July 30, 2009 at 12:58 pm
@canadian
karo's was painkillers not steroids, if i'm not mistaken.
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