Steroids in MMA
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What Was More Heartbreaking: Anderson Silva’s Leg Break or Positive Test?

By Nasir Jabbar

After a couple nights spent crying into a pillow and questioning everything I have come to know about this (occasionally) great sport, I’ve finally mustered up some courage to write about the whole Anderson Silva positive drug test.

To be honest, UFC 183 had a freakshow feel to it the moment the main event was announced, then it was just a straight up fiasco which included botched weight cuts, a fighter collapsing on fight night, and most notably, both main-eventers failing their drug tests.

Silva has been involved in huge back-to-back fights and the post-fight aftermath has proved to be even bigger. Both situations are unforgettable, but it got me thinking, which was more heartbreaking?

Leg Injury


(Photo via Getty.)

As you remember, UFC 168 was the event where the horrific leg break occurred. During their main-event title fight Silva went for the leg kick which Chris Weidman checked and, well, the rest is history. Brutal, brutal history.

At the time, it was unaware whether Silva would ever fight again, so the thought of the greatest middleweight of all time to potentially go out on that performance was just downright unfair. It was genuinely heartbreaking to see Silva, a fighter who’s done the unthinkable inside the cage having given the fans so much joy and amazing memories, in such severe pain. The images of him lying on the canvas holding onto this shattered leg, then seeing him stretchered off while screaming in agony was just devastating.

As fans, we don’t just invest our time into this great sport, but for some, we also invest emotionally in particular fighters, whether it’s because you come from the same city, you are inspired by a certain individual, or you just really like the way they fight. (Ed note: Lytle for State Senator!!!!)

We don’t just watch this sport as a medium of entertainment. For some, these fighters are more than that, they are a viewers outlet for escapism, almost like a hero, and seeing such a hero crumble in front of your eyes can understandably leave you grief-stricken. Considering that so many were willing to write off Silva’s previous loss to Weidman as a fluke, it seemed as if the MMA Gods themselves were punishing us by allowing the Greatest of All Time to end his career on such a dour note.

Positive Test

Of all people, Anderson Silva. For someone who’s name has never even been used in the same sentence as drug use throughout his storied career (and one who’s actually been an advocate of harsh penalties for PED users), the news that he had tested positive for two (count ‘em, two) types of PED’s has hit MMA fans hard, and for good reason.

Silva has tarnished his incredible legacy. There’s now two ways about it (unless he can miraculously clear his name). Is it feasible to think that steroids were an aid in Silva’s rehab? Maybe, but what we do know is that one ill-fated decision has now left his whole MMA career suspect. Every discussion of Silva’s legacy moving forward will undoubtedly revolve around the idea that PEDs were at least partly responsible for his ability to maintain such a high level for so long. It would be a bit cynical to think that, as there are fighters out there who have accomplished such great heights as Silva while remaining clean. Boxing legend Bernard Hopkins is 50 years-old, who recently fought in a world title unification bout. He, like Silva, has been clean throughout his career and at a high level for a very long time. Is Hopkins a truly clean fighter, or just someone who was lucky enough to never have been caught? It’s open for debate.

“If you’re a highly-paid fighter at the end of your career, why *wouldn’t* you use PEDs to go out strong?” The pressure Silva must of been under is incomprehensible — from the UFC brass, managers, fans, the pressure he puts on himself on wanting to return and the fact he was coming back from a broken leg. By no means am I condoning his actions, however in a sport where steroids exist, this is nothing short of the norm.

The thought of Silva’s accomplishments effectively going to waste is a depressing one, but a real one. Seeing a hero cheat in front of your eyes can, again, understandably leave you grief-stricken.

One minute he’s being hailed as the GOAT, the next he’s being branded a cheat. This sport, you guys. This damn sport.

What say you, Nation? Which moment left you more heartbroken? 

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