Wanderlei Silva appeared at an “informational meeting” yesterday held by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, in which he was asked to explain his mysterious disappearance when a sample-collector showed up at his gym last month to give him a random drug test. And while Silva himself didn’t say a word during the meeting — instead speaking through his lawyer, Ross Goodman — he managed to dig himself into a deeper hole.
Prior to Goodman’s statement, the NSAC had Jim Guernsey, an independent sample collector with approximately 34 years of experience, to detail the events of May 24, when he arrived at Silva’s gym to retrieve a blood and urine specimen from the fighter. After unsuccessfully trying to track down Silva via telephone and at his home, Guernsey found the UFC veteran at his Las Vegas gym. However, Guernsey would not find the cooperation he was seeking.
“I explained that the Nevada Athletic Commission had asked me to get a blood and urine sample from him. He said OK and was finishing eating and visiting with the people around him… After they finished, he asked me if he could talk to his manager or trainer,” said Guernsey, who provided his account from detailed notes he took that day. “I asked him if this person was at the gym and he said yes. I told him that was fine and gave him a little space. I think he had just finished working out.
“He walked up to the front desk and I followed a little way behind him,” Guernsey continued. “He went into an office in the middle of the gym and came out after just a few seconds. He walked back to the front counter and then walked past the office toward the back of the gym and went around the corner to the right. I casually followed behind him, and when I turned around the corner I realized there was an exit there and a bathroom. I didn’t see him anywhere. I went into the bathroom and looked around and didn’t see him there … I kept looking around for a few minutes, and I still couldn’t find him. I came to the conclusion that he left.”
Both Guernsey and NAC Executive Director Bob Bennett would eventually speak to Silva’s wife that day in hopes of alerting the fighter that he needed to provide a blood and urine sample. The message did not get through, however, and ultimately Silva was removed from the UFC 175 card completely…
“Between Mr. Guernsey and myself, we made every possible concerted effort to have Mr. Silva administer a blood and urine specimen to us, which he did not,” Bennett said.
Silva’s lawyer didn’t deny any part of Guernsey’s account, and claimed that Silva dodged the test because he had been taking diuretics — along with anti-inflammatory medication — due to the broken right wrist he had sustained during the infamous TUF Brazil 3 brawl with Sonnen:
“I want to say, first and foremost, that Wanderlei Silva has been fighting for 20 years, has over 50 professional fights, and has never failed a drug test,” Goodman said. “He was taking diuretics for the sole purpose of minimizing the inflammation, to decrease the water retention. He now realized that he should have submitted to the drug test. He was surprised. It was the first time in his career where something like this (happened), out of competition, somebody showed up at his gym. That doesn’t negate or minimize what Mr. Silva did. He’s here to apologize to the commission, and he was concerned that the diuretics would show up on his sample.”
In retrospect, Silva should have just sacked up and taken the test, so that he’d have proof that he was taking diuretics — and not, say, steroids. Instead, we’ll always have some measure of doubt about this alibi. (Plus, we’ll never trust his video blogs again.) Needless to say, the NSAC wasn’t entirely satisfied by the explanation, and Silva is expected to receive a 12-month suspension at a follow-up hearing. We’ll keep you posted on that.
Speaking of suspensions, Chael Sonnen also caught a temporary suspension during yesterday’s NSAC hearing, for coming up positive for a pair of unapproved estrogen-blockers during his own random drug test last month. Sonnen’s specific punishment will be determined at a future hearing (date TBA), but since the dude already retired, there’s really not much they can do to him.
To summarize: Chael Sonnen is responsible for the broken wrist that (maybe) destroys Wanderlei Silva’s career, then quits before the NSAC can fire him. Masterful work as always, sir.