July 18, 2018
USADA announced today that Anderson Silva, of Palo Verdes, Calif., has accepted a one-year sanction for his second anti-doping violation after testing positive for prohibited substances from a contaminated supplement.
Silva, 43, is the fourth athlete to accept a sanction under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy as a result of a positive test caused by the use of contaminated supplements purchased from a Brazilian compounding pharmacy. Unlike retail pharmacies and drugstores, which receive their drug inventories from commercial manufacturers, compounding pharmacies prepare their medications onsite according to specifications contained in a written prescription. In this instance, the compounding pharmacy also produced and sold nutritional supplements. Although athletes competing in the UFC are repeatedly warned that supplements are risky and frequently contain substances not listed on the label including prohibited, as well as, harmful drugs, the pharmacy that prepared Silva’s supplement marketed its products as a safe alternative to mass produced medications and supplements and also claimed to utilize manufacturing processes designed to eliminate the possibility of cross-contamination.
Silva tested positive for the methyltestosterone metabolites 17α-methyl-5β-androstan-3α,17β-diol and 17α-methyl-5α-androstan-3α,17β-diol, as well as hydrochlorothiazide, following an out-of-competition urine test conducted on October 26, 2017. Methyltestosterone is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents, while hydrochlorothiazide is a Specified Substance in the class of Diuretics and Masking Agents. Both of these substances are prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.
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.
Pursuant to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, all UFC athletes serving a period of ineligibility for an anti-doping policy violation are required to continue to make themselves available for testing in order to receive credit for time completed under their sanction.
USADA conducts the year-round, independent anti-doping program for all UFC athletes. USADA is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental agency whose sole mission is to preserve the integrity of competition, inspire true sport, and protect the rights of clean athletes. In an effort to aid UFC athletes, as well as their support team members, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on the UFC Anti-Doping Program website (https://UFC.USADA.org) regarding the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (https://UFC.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, and periodic athlete alerts.
Along with education and testing, robust anti-doping programs enable investigations stemming from tips and whistleblowers. USADA makes available a number of ways to report the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs in sport in an effort to protect clean athletes and promote clean competition. Any tip can be reported using the USADA Play Clean Tip Center, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 1 877-Play Clean (1-877-752-9253), or by mail.