Wanderlei Silva admits taking banned substance

June 18, 2014 – 5:18 am by Ryan Phillips
    Wanderlei Silva

In a bizarre story a few weeks ago, UFC fighter Wanderlei Silva comically avoided taking a drug test by simply leaving the gym he was working out at and running away from the test collector. Well, on Tuesday he admitted to avoiding that May 24 drug test because he was taking banned substances at the time.

The 37-year-old Silva went before the Nevada State Athletic Commission at an “information gathering” hearing on Tuesday and admitted wrongdoing. He was immediately suspended by the organization. Silva’s lawyer claims the fighter was taking diuretics at the time of the test.

Silva claims he was taking the diuretics in conjunction with anti-inflammatories to deal with a wrist injury he suffered in February. He was scheduled to fight Chael Sonnen in a light heavyweight bout at UFC 175, but was pulled from that fight after avoiding the test.

Silva’s lawyer, Ross Goodman, had the following to say:

“In February of this year, (Silva) injured his wrist. He was scheduled to fight in (May). In early May, X-rays confirmed he had fractured his right wrist. The UFC moved the fight to July 5. 

“Mr. Silva, regretfully, at that time, started taking diuretics. He was taking diuretics for the sole purpose of minimizing the inflammation and (decreasing) water retention.”

Diuretics are often used by fighters in an attempt to help cut weight before bouts. Until now, Silva (35-12-1) had never failed a drug test, but the former Pride middleweight champion had been suspected of using by some in the past.

On May 24, tester Jim Guernsey called Silva and his wife in an attempt to set up a drug test. Guernsey couldn’t reach either, then later found out both numbers provided for him were both incorrect by one number. That’s probably not a coincidence.

Soon after, Guernsey arrived at Silva’s Las Vegas gym, found him and told him the NSAC had requested a random drug test. Silva asked if Guernsey would talk to his manager, who he said was at the gym. After Silva entered an office and returned, he simply left the gym.

Silva has confirmed Guernsey’s account of the incident. His lawyer claims Silva was concerned the diuretics would show up in his sample, but was adamant that his client had not taken any performance-enhancing drugs.

After the way this whole incident went down, it would be really hard for me to see Silva fighting in the UFC again.

Sonnen, Silva’s scheduled opponent for UFC 175, also tested positive for a banned substance. But Sonnen actually had a credible excuse: he wasn’t using anything illegal and was in the process of coming off previously-approved testosterone replacement therapy for fertility reasons. Sonnen is appealing the suspension, but claims that if he isn’t cleared he will retire.

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