Anderson Silva: come clean and be accountable — for the sake of your legacy

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The star UFC fighter has tested positive for drostanolone following UFC 183 in a pre-competition drug test conducted on Jan. 9. Traces of androstane, an endogenous hormone, were also discovered in his system.


In December 2003, former MLB slugger Barry Bonds testified to a grand jury that he never consciously received performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) from his former trainer, Greg Anderson. Eight years later, a federal jury decided that Bonds had actually impeded their investigation by giving deliberately ambiguous and deceiving proclamations during his testimony. Simply put, Bonds was ‘using’ during his career and committed perjury under oath.

Since 1995, former road racing cyclist Lance Armstrong had been questioned for his integrity to the sport after beginning to work with controversial trainer and physician Michele Ferrari. In 2004, Ferrari had been sentenced to one year in prison for sporting fraud and Armstrong responded to this claim by affirming that he personally had “zero tolerance for anyone convicted of using or facilitating the use of performance-enhancing drugs”. In 2013, Armstrong admitted to Oprah Winfrey on an international broadcast that he had used PEDs to win his seven Tour de France titles. He had also penned in a written testimony that Ferrari was one of four individuals who had given him the drugs during his profession as a cyclist.

Enter Anderson Silva, the legendary mixed martial artist that UFC President Dana White has labeled as the sport’s greatest of all time. Per Nevada Athletic Commission Executive Director Bob Bennett, Silva tested positive for Drostanolone in a pre-competition drug test ran on Jan. 9. Traces of Androstane, an endogenous hormone, were discovered in his system as well. The alarming outcome from the UFC 183 main event, which took place on Jan. 31 in Las Vegas, still has the UFC world stunned, with failed drug tests for both Silva and his opponent, Nick Diaz, who tested positive for marijuana.

The Brazilian’s career now comes into question following the test results. Considering his longtime anti-doping stance in the UFC, these results are nothing but unforeseen and scandalous. Here’s the thing – it’s happened before, just not with this particular Silva.

UFC Fight Night: Hunt versus Bigfoot transpired in Dec. 2013 in Australia, a heavyweight fight between Mark Hunt (Hunt) and Antonio Silva (Bigfoot), which miraculously ended in a draw. Following the fight, it was determined that Silva went through an unsuccessful post-fight evaluation for elevated testosterone, failing the test.

The fight between Diaz and Anderson Silva was a main event that was all about living out the fantasy of this perfect matchup, and both of them failed it. That’s painful for all fans across the world, but forget about Diaz for a minute. Silva was the guy who was able to defeat his opponents who still had the competitive advantage from juicing. He holds the longest title defense streak in UFC history at ten. Anderson Silva skipped out on retirement after shattering his shinbone in 2013 and returned for UFC 183, proving the point that he’s still the greatest in the sport, and he won. As brilliant as he is in the octagon, Silva’s courageous fight to return to the ring was a display of resilience for his willpower to prosper once again. We were all in admiration with his efforts and very proud of him, or so we thought.

“When the guys test for the steroids, they should have no more fights,” Silva told in October. “When you use the steroids, you use them for a long time. When you use the steroids for a long time, you have a problem. It’s a drug, and it’s not good for the sport.”

Those words from Silva left his very own mouth only four months ago., and now, they make him a hypocrite. He now joins Chael Sonnen, Stephen Bonnar, Vitor Belfort, Forrest Griffin, James Irvin, Nate Marquardt and Chris Leben – seven of his past foes who ultimately failed drug tests for an assorted catalog of PEDs.

Sonnen was a former UFC icon, but unfortunately saw his career terminated in 2014. He tested positive for a high testosterone/epitestosterone ratio in 2010, followed by two more failed random tests in 2014, which triggered his retirement. His echoed disobediences didn’t help his status in the UFC, but he was honest and admitted to his flaws.

“Within 12 hours of the biggest bombshell of his life, he puts out a statement,” Sonnen told ESPN Seattle’s Get in the Cage. “It’s like Anderson, we gotta slow down. You need to think about this, you need to think about what you’re saying.’ Failing a drug test is bad, but lying about it is arguably worse.”

Regarding Silva’s use of the PEDs, Sonnen believes he was well within his rights to use them to speed up his recovery and many others would concur.

“The guy snapped his leg in half,” said Sonnen. “He has not only a right, but he has an absolute obligation to himself to fix his body, no matter what that means. Free market or black market, if he can get his hands on something that can repair his body, he needs to do that.”

Silva’s principal burden in this situation was that he didn’t give the public an ethical explanation regarding his decision to use the PEDs, and his denial could ultimately have much greater consequences for the UFC star.

When top pound-for-pound UFC fighter Jon ‘Bones’ Jones tested positive for cocaine following UFC 182, Silva spoke on the topic with Brazilian news outlet Terra, expressing that, “Everybody makes mistakes, we have to stop criticizing him and start to support him so he can come back and become a better person than he already is”.

Silva needs to reflect on those words. As he had mentioned, everybody makes mistakes and no one is unflawed. There’s no need to push the boundaries on the situation and Chael Sonnen would agree.
“Just take it on the chin, because at the end of the day, the rules are the rules,” said Sonnen. “If you were talking about me, I broke the rules. There’s no way around that. These things were on the list; I took them, that’s it.”

The Nevada State Athletics Commission’s next scheduled meeting will take place on Feb. 17, and a full disciplinary hearing won’t be scheduled until that date. It’s time for Anderson Silva to follow his own advice on PEDs, or else his reputation will dwindle even more than it already has. For the sake of his legacy, it’s time for him to hold accountability for this unfortunate circumstance.

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