Anderson Silva’s comeback victory over Nick Diaz on Saturday night has been transformed from an uplifting moment to an ultimate downer for the Ultimate Fighting Championship as the Nevada State Athletic Commission reported Tuesday that Silva submitted a positive test for two anabolic steroids.
Officials also said Diaz, Silva’s pay-per-view opponent in UFC 183 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, submitted a positive post-fight test for marijuana -- his third such positive in the state.
Silva beat Diaz by unanimous decision to earn a guaranteed purse of $800,000, while Diaz collected $500,000.
“UFC is disappointed to learn of these initial results,” the company wrote in a statement emailed to reporters.
By submitting the positive tests for Drostanolone and another steroid, Silva, 39, casts a massive cloud over his legacy as a seven-year middleweight champion who returned from a broken leg, sustained in a second loss to current champion Chris Weidman, to beat Diaz.
UFC President Dana White has called Silva the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the company’s history.
White, Silva and Silva's manager, Ed Soares, were not immediately available for comment Tuesday night.
Right after the victory, Silva leaped over the octagon cage and delivered a pep talk to UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who submitted a positive test for cocaine before his Jan. 3 title defense over Daniel Cormier.
Silva said after the bout that he would need to speak to his family before deciding whether to return to UFC action or retire.
As for Diaz, he was suspended for a year after testing positive for marijuana in Nevada in 2012, meaning he now may face serious consequences.
Silva was tested randomly Jan. 9, but the company that conducted the test was “extremely busy” and didn’t provide the results to the Nevada State Athletic Commission until Tuesday, according to an official who is close to the situation but unauthorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Silva’s result “is really unfortunate and takes away from all the good work of those who don’t use,” said Bob Bennett, the Nevada commission’s executive director. “We have challenges in front of us, obviously, and plan to continue addressing them to level the octagon, so to speak. It’s a very unfortunate situation.”
Bennett said the “positive” from the situation was that Nevada is catching cheaters and users of illicit drugs.
“We’re not glad we’re catching anybody,” he said. “We’d hope that people would adhere to the policy of not using. We’re not planning or plotting to catch all these fighters. We just randomly test them. They’re the ones who look to take the shortcuts.”
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