(“I’m pissed. That son of a bitch sold me a six pack of that shit and said it was the good stuff.”)
UFC light heavyweight Thiago Silva won’t be able to fight again until at least January 1, 2012, and he will be $33,750 lighter in the wallet and will have one less win on his record when he finally returns to competition.
Silva was handed the hefty suspension and fine and had the result of his UFC 125 win over Brandon Vera changed to a “no-contest”after admitting in a hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission today that he used steroids and tried to mask his wrongdoing by providing a synthetic urine sample he purchased online for his pre-fight drug screen.
According to MMAJunkie’s John Morgan who was present at the hearing,
Silva waived his right for an attorney and additional time to prepare a defense and instead admitted what he took and explained the method he used to try to fool the lab.
“I’m here just to tell the truth,” Silva said.
He detailed how he received two epidural injections — 45 and 30 days out from the bout with Vera — of an unnamed steroid by his doctor to help speed recovery from a back injury and that he purchased the synthetic urine he used for his drug screening test online from cleartest.com. He likely would have gotten away with it had the lab used by NSAC not been a World Anti-Doping Agency-approved test center that utilized hormone-screening processes to determine if test samples are both human and from the same sex as the provider of the specimen (insert Cyborg joke here).
Silva explained that he knew using the drug was against NSAC rules, but said he felt pressured to compete in spite of being hurt because he had not fought in a year due to the same injury and his family’s livelihood depended on him being paid for the bout.
“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.”
He detailed how he simply turned his back on the commission rep assigned to oversee the drug tests administered two weeks prior to the New Year’s Day event in Las Vegas and opened the container containing the fake urine and dumped it into a sample cup without the commissioner noticing.
NSAC executive director Keith Kizer tried to make an example of Silva for not admitting any wrongdoing until caught by requesting that his suspension start today, rather than retroactive to the date of UFC 125. However, when put to a vote, the other members of the commission voted in favor of allowing the days since the bout to count against the suspension due in part to Silva’s “candor” and also because the commission dropped the for not watching the sample collection more closely.
Originally, the commission wanted to take Silva’s entire $55,000 win bonus and 1/3 of his $55,000 purse, but decided instead to hold back 1/4 of his purse and $20,000 of his win bonus for a total of $33,750.
The UFC has yet to comment on the situation.
Two important questions now arise from the hearing:
Should commissions be required to test fighters year-round for PEDs using sport-wide WADA approved methods like NSAC employs to ensure a level playing field?
Do fighters need a union to negotiate minimum salaries for fighters rather than simply “pay-to-play” and performance bonus-based incentives promotions currently dole out that include a living wage so competitors don’t ever have to feel that they need to cheat to compete?