On October 26, 2017 Anderson Silva provided an out of competition sample to USADA which tested positive for methyltestosterone metabolites as well as hydrochlorothiazide. These substances are banned at all times and come with a default two year period of ineligibility under the UFC/USADA custom tailored anti-doping program. This was Silva’s second doping infraction and he could have been facing up to four years of ineligibility for a repeat violation.
Today it was announced that Silva agreed to a one year suspension retroactive to November 2017. Silva successfully traced the substances back to contaminated supplements purchased from a Brazilian compounding pharmacy. Athletes in similar circumstances have been handed a 6 month period of ineligibility but this was increased for Silva in recognition of his past infraction. Of note Josh Barnett succeeded in taking a contaminated supplement case to arbitration where he was vindicated and given only a public reprimand in proving a positive test was tied to true contamination.
In any event USADA issued the following comments in today’s press release:
Following notification of his positive test, Silva provided USADA with an open container of a compounded dietary supplement product he was using at the time of his positive test. Although no prohibited substances were listed on the supplement label, testing conducted by the WADA-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City confirmed the presence of methyltestosterone and hydrochlorothiazide in the product. Thereafter, in the course of its broader investigation into Brazilian compounding pharmacies, USADA independently sourced numerous supplement products from the same compounding pharmacy that prepared Silva’s contaminated supplement. The analysis of those products by the Salt Lake City laboratory confirmed that they were similarly contaminated with prohibited substances, including multiple anabolic agents and diuretics.
Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, as well as the World Anti-Doping Code, the determination that an athlete’s positive test was caused by a contaminated product may result in a reduced sanction. In this case, the sanction length also reflects the fact that this is Silva’s second doping violation, with the first resulting from a decision by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in 2015 to suspend Silva for one year after he tested positive for multiple prohibited substances. If no reduction had been applied due to the finding that Silva’s positive test was caused by a contaminated product, the standard sanction for a second violation involving a non-Specified Substance would have resulted in a four-year period of ineligibility.
Silva’s one-year period of ineligibility began on November 10, 2017, the date his provisional suspension was imposed. Silva will be eligible to return to competition upon the completion of his sanction on November 10, 2018.