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

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

ADDENDUM: The Definitive MMA Testosterone Bust Timeline

Caught: 9/18/10, following his submission loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 117.
Tested positive for: Originally dubbed a “natural steroid,” Sonnen was flagged by the California State Athletic Commission after his T/E (testosterone/epitestosterone) ratio came in at over four times the legal threshold.
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC, which was reduced to six months after an appeal on December 3rd. Sonnen claimed that he had been undergoing testosterone replacement therapy since 2008 due to hypogonadism, and was under the impression that he’d received the proper approval for the treatment.
In his own words: “I was found not guilty on the substance issue. You used the term ‘steroids’ which is a pretty big catchword. It’s really not fair. With that said, testosterone falls under the category of steroids. But that’s like saying that mouthwash falls in the category of alcohol. Or cough syrup is alcohol. It’s not exactly the same thing and it’s not what we’re talking about. One is a medicine versus an illegal substance. I was never accused or suspected of [using] an illegal substance. That was an online rumor that was started and perpetuated and I never did anything to step in to stop it, but I was accused of taking testosterone without the proper disclosure.

“Still to this moment, I don’t know what the proper disclosure they were looking for was. I walked straight up to the [CSAC] commissioner and told him, ‘This is what I’m on.’ When they put their case forward, I didn’t disagree with any of it. I went up and told him, ‘This is gonna test positive tomorrow. What do you want me to do? Do you want me to write it down?’ and he was like, ‘Yeah, come here; let’s write it down. He came out and used it against me, like, ‘Chael even told me he was on something.’ Right, I told you. That’s what disclosure means. In the state of California, they don’t have a form that needs filled out. They don’t have anybody higher up to go to. They just simply use the word, ‘disclose,’ and that’s what we did.”

Caught: 7/25/11, after failing his pre-fight medicals for UFC on Versus 4, where he was supposed to face Rick Story.
Tested positive for: Elevated testosterone.
Punishment: Marquardt was immediately fired by the UFC, and received a brief suspension from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission. He remained out of action for a year, then dropped to welterweight and began competing for Strikeforce, where he won the promotion’s vacant 170-pound title in his first appearance.
Excuse: “Marquardt revealed that he suffers from low testosterone levels and has been under the care of an unnamed physcian who prescribed Testosterone Replacement Therapy to counteract the condition. He explained that he recently switched from using prescribed pills to increase the natural testosterone production capabilities of his testicles and pituitary gland to receiving doctor’s injections of synthetic testosterone to regulate his levels, but as a result of a double dosage the week prior to his scheduled bout with Rick Story and the weight cut to make 170 lbs for his UFC welterweight debut his levels were too high to be granted approval by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission…

“The Great” told Ariel Helwani that the PSAC doctor explained that the lack of water in his system due to the dehydration process of weight cutting likely skewed the test results as it “thickened” his blood and made the concentration much higher than it would be under normal conditions… said that part of the issue is that he had been using an “off-brand” version of testosterone other than the one prescribed for him.”

Caught: 4/4/12, following the first random drug-test of his career.
Tested positive for: A testosterone/epitestosterone ratio of 14:1 — well beyond the already-generous 6:1 ratio that the NSAC uses as a threshold.
Punishment: The NSAC denied Overeem’s request to be licensed to compete in the state; he was barred from reapplying for licensure in Nevada for nine months.
In his own words: ”I absolutely do not believe in, nor do I use performance-enhancing drugs. I am a clean fighter and I will do whatever it takes to prove this to everyone. Prior to the UFC 146 press conference in March, I aggravated an old rib injury on my left side. My doctor prescribed, and I accepted, an anti-inflammatory medication that was mixed with testosterone. I was completely unaware that testosterone was one of the ingredients in the medication. Although I was unaware, I do realize it is my job to know what I am putting into my body.”

Caught: 1/10/13, following his first-round TKO loss to Hector Lombard at UFC on FX 6.
Tested positive for: Elevated testosterone.
Punishment: A nine-month suspension from the UFC, retroactive to December 14th.
In his own words: “I’ve always been extremely regimented with my diet and would not use anything that could harm my body or my performance inside the octagon. And it wasn’t different this time. I never had the intention to cheat. I’ve got almost 30 fights in my career, most of them in the UFC. I have been subjected to several surprise tests, and there was never anything wrong. Besides, I knew that I would be tested after the fight in Australia because it is standard in the UFC. I have a clear conscience, but accepted the punishment. The rules are there for everyone and must be followed. I consulted with my doctor, and he will go over all food supplements used in my preparation for the fight and the test results. I want to know exactly what happened that made the testosterone rate unusual in my body.”

Caught: 3/19/13, following his decision loss to Brendan Schaub at UFC 157.
Tested positive for: Elevated testosterone “consistent with the administration of a steroid.”
Punishment: A nine-month suspension from the CSAC, and a fine of “around $1,250.” Johnson was also released from the UFC.
In his own words: “What happened was basically I was on TRT, I just didn’t disclose it to the athletic commission. It was my mistake. I was taking such little amounts; me and my doctor didn’t think anything was going to pop up, like it’s no big deal. I guess any time you’re taking any kind of testosterone it’s going to show on the test. So that’s basically what I got popped for.

“You know, if you take steroids they’ll suspend you for a year. I wasn’t taking steroids. I was prescribed [TRT] by a doctor. They suspended me for nine months, and I ended up showing them my prescription from my doctor and everything. They ended up reducing it to six months. That was it. Unfortunately I got released from the UFC, and messed up the good opportunity.”

Caught: 6/7/13, following his TKO loss to George Roop at UFC 160.
Tested positive for: “An elevated T/E ratio (> 20).” Holy crap, dude!
Punishment: A nine-month suspension from the NSAC and a $5,700 fine, representing 30% of his show-money.

Caught: 10/3/13, following his TKO win over Brandon Vera at UFC 164.
Tested positive for: Elevated testosterone.
Punishment: A nine-month suspension from the UFC, after the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services decided to only give Rothwell an “administrative warning.” Hey, don’t say that Dana didn’t warn you.
In his own words: “Following my victory at UFC 164 I was informed I tested for an elevated level of testosterone. This came as a shock because I had applied for and was granted a TRT exemption and was doing so under the supervision of a doctor. I was tested every week for eight weeks prior to the fight and was well under the acceptable level each time.

I had applied for TRT after an endocrinologist and Wisconsin athletic doctors diagnosed me with hypogonadism. They felt it was caused by a car crash in 1999 that left me with severe head trauma and in a coma. Doctors told me TRT was something that could stop the hypogonadism from degrading my body.

After getting the news of the elevated test, I spoke with the Wisconsin Athletic Commission and they decided to give me an administrative warning. I was told they didn’t think I tried to cheat, but felt some punishment was necessary.

I have now been informed the UFC has elected to suspend me for nine months. I am not going to fight the suspension as I feel ultimately it is my responsibility to make sure I stay under the acceptable limit. I am deeply sorry for this mistake and apologize to my fans, family and friends.”

Caught: 10/28/13, following an out-of-competition drug test.
Tested positive for: A T/E ratio of 19.4:1, more than three times the NSAC’s testing threshold of 6:1.
Punishment: Drysdale was denied licensure by the NSAC for his UFC 167 debut fight against Cody Donovan, but hasn’t been given any additional punishment by the UFC or NSAC.
In his own words: “I will not take an ounce of blame for dishonesty, because there was no dishonesty on my part. I would take some blame for not understanding the process. In all honesty I was on it for a little over a month. So it’s not like it made a big difference to me. I’m used to not being on it, so it’s fine, I’m fine…I wasn’t on it long enough to feel much of an effect to be honest. It’s probably my fault more than anything for not understanding the process.”
Highly suspicious: In July 2013, Drysdale applied for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) to use TRT before a scheduled UFC 163 match against Ednaldo Oliveira. His request was denied by the NSAC, and coincidentally, Drysdale pulled out of that match with a “staph infection.” Draw your own conclusions.

Caught: 12/16/13, following his knockout loss to Alexander Shlemenko at Bellator 109.
Tested positive for: An “undisclosed banned substance,” that was later revealed to be elevated testosterone.
Punishment: Marshall was given a temporary 60-day suspension and a $500 fine by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission. But after a formal commission hearing in March 2014, the PSAC voted to table his re-licensing application until August 9th, 2014, keeping him inactive for nine months after his failed test.

Caught: 12/17/13, following his draw against Mark Hunt at UFC Fight Night 33.
Tested positive for: Elevated testosterone.
Punishment: Silva was slapped with a nine-month suspension by the UFC — which regulated the Brisbane, Australia event — and his $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus was forfeited to Hunt. The draw was changed to a no-contest on Silva’s record.
In his own words: “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.”
Not his first rodeo: As we explained on page 1, Silva tested positive for horse-steroids back in 2008, and blamed the result on an over-the-counter testosterone booster called Novodex, which he was using to treat his gigantism. Unfortunately, Silva didn’t disclose that on his pre-fight medical questionnaire, and his attempt to appeal his suspension ended badly. Silva is now the second fighter (after Nate Marquardt) to have failed drug-tests for steroids and elevated testosterone during his career.

February 27th, 2014: Nevada State Athletic Commission Bans TRT Exemptions, Effective Immediately

February 28th, 2014: Brazilian Commission Bans TRT, Grants Dan Henderson Final Exemption for Shogun Rua Rematch

Caught: Following a random drug test administered by the NSAC on 2/7/14; the results were never publicly released, but Belfort admitted to failing the test on June 6th, in advance of a NSAC licensing hearing.
Tested positive for: Elevated testosterone.
Punishment: Basically nothing. Belfort avoided a fine, and the NSAC unanimously voted to give him a conditional license that would require him to undergo random blood and urine testing at his own expense. He will face Chris Weidman for the UFC’s middleweight title at UFC 181 in December.
In his own words: “The 37-year-old said he received a doctor-administered injection as part of his TRT treatment a day before the failed test on Feb. 7. Belfort said he usually received two injections per week as part of his treatment, but with the trip to Las Vegas, he took one larger dose, his lawyer said. ‘I take responsibility for that,’ Belfort said.”

Caught: 7/30/14, following his first-round submission win over Keith Berish at the TUF 19 Finale.
Tested positive for: A T/E ratio of 12:1, twice the NSAC’s testing threshold of 6:1.
Punishment: A one-year suspension from the NSAC retroactive to his July fight, a $5,280 fine (33% of his $16,000 fight purse), and his win against Berish has been overturned into a no contest.

Caught: 10/31/14, following his split decision win against Joe Pacheco at Bellator 127.
Tested positive for: Elevated testosterone. (Also, weed.)
Punishment: Berry’s win against Pacheco has been changed to a no contest, according to the CSAC. He has been suspended 300 days for having elevated levels of testosterone and THC in his system, and fined $2,500.

Caught: 10/31/14, following his unanimous decision loss to Ray Sloan at Bellator 127.
Tested positive for: Elevated testosterone. (Also, weed.)
Punishment: Moghaddam’s loss to Sloan will stand. He has been suspended 300 days for having elevated levels of testosterone and THC in his system, and fined $1,000.

Augusto Montano
Caught: 6/13/15, following his unanimous decision loss to Cathal Pendred at UFC 188
Tested positive for: Testosterone metabolites
Punishment: One-year suspension

Gilbert Melendez 
Caught: 6/13/15, following his split decision loss to Eddie Alvarez at UFC 188
Tested positive for: Testosterone metabolites
Punishment: One-year suspension
In his own words: “Regrettably, I tested positive in my post fight urine sample for UFC 188. I did not inject anything, but I am responsible and accept the consequences for the results.  I will make sure I am better educated about the products I use and their implications. Going forward I will ensure no products I use will contain banned substances. I am sincerely apologetic to everyone who supports me, including my fans, sponsors and the UFC.  I value your trust and respect and will do everything in my power to keep it.”

Final score: Of the aforementioned fighters who tested positive for elevated testosterone after fights, three were successful in their fights, eight were unsuccessful, and one fought to a draw.

Last update: 1/13/16

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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.
NECROPHYTE- July 30, 2009 at 3:47 pm
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
karo's was painkillers not steroids, if i'm not mistaken.