After failing drug tests ahead of his clash with Nick Diaz at UFC 183 in January, Anderson Silva has been suspended from competition.
Silva will be forced to sit out for one year and has been fined the full $200,000 win purse and an additional 30 percent of the $800,000 fight purse, per Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com. Okamoto also noted Silva's win over Diaz was turned into a no-contest. Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports reported Silva is eligible to fight again on Feb. 1, 2016.
The UFC's Director of Public Relations Chris Costello provided a statement:
Following the Nevada Athletic Commission’s hearing today, Anderson Silva is required to serve a 12-month suspension from competition, retroactive from his last fight on January 31. At the conclusion of his suspension, Silva must present a clean test upon reapplication of a license before his next fight in Nevada. The UFC organization maintains a strict, consistent policy against the use of any illegal and/or performance enhancing drugs, stimulants or masking agents by its athletes, and fully supports the Commission’s ongoing efforts to ensure clean competition by all MMA athletes.
UFC recognizes Silva's great career and looks forward to his return to the Octagon in 2016.
Silva's suspension is for steroids, as The Spider tested positive for drostanolone metabolites on Jan. 9, per UFC.com:
Anderson Silva has been an amazing champion and a true ambassador of the sport of mixed martial arts and the UFC, in Brazil as well as around the world. UFC is disappointed to learn of these initial results.
The UFC has a strict, consistent policy against the use of any illegal and/or performance enhancing drugs, stimulants or masking agents by its athletes.
According to Iole, Silva tested positive for an oral steroid along with the performance-enhancing drug mentioned in the UFC statement:
Additionally, sources told MMAjunkie that the Brazilian star also failed a second drug test.
In the wake of the first positive test being made public, Silva denied any wrongdoing and made it clear that he did not use steroids, per ESPN.com:
I have not taken any performance enhancing drugs. My stance on drugs is and will always be the same. I'm an advocate for a clean sport.
I'm consulting with my advisers right now to explore all of my options and intend to fight this allegation and clear my name. I will not make any further comments until my team advises me to do so.
Despite Silva's denials, several fighters sounded off regarding the situation. Many view The Spider as one of the greatest competitors of all time, but UFC middleweight Michael Bisping wonders if his entire career is tainted, as he told MMAWeekly.com:
Former UFC star Chael Sonnen, who was banned two years for PED use, believes Silva should have been more forthright about the positive tests, per 710 ESPN Seattle:
Regardless of Silva's reaction to the tests, he will have to accept his punishment. Being knocked out of active competition for this long is a major blow to any fighter, but it is especially worrisome for an older competitor like Silva.
He is 40 years of age, which means he is quickly reaching the end of the line. Because of that, it isn't a stretch to suggest he has competed in his last fight.
Silva and Diaz entered UFC 183 as two of the most popular fighters in the sport, and while that may still be true to some degree, there is no question their reputations have been tainted, with Silva undoubtedly coming out on the worst end of it.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission ultimately had to lay down the law to make it clear drug use won't be tolerated, and that is precisely what it did with its discipline of Silva.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.