LOS ANGELES — Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva has tested positive for steroid use, the promotion announced Tuesday night.
Silva tested positive for Drostanolone metabolites in an out-of-competition test Jan. 9, according to the Nevada Athletic Commission. The UFC says the commission is doing further testing to confirm the results, but the surprising announcement casts a large shadow over the 39-year-old Silva's impressive comeback from a badly broken leg at UFC 183 last Saturday.
In a brief statement, the UFC said it was “disappointed to learn of these initial results.”
“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,” the UFC's statement added. “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.”
Silva (34-6) beat Nick Diaz by unanimous decision at UFC 183 last weekend in Las Vegas. The fight was the Brazilian star's return to the cage after badly breaking his lower left leg 13 months ago.
Silva is considered one of the greatest mixed martial artists in the sport's history, and UFC President Dana White is among those who have proclaimed him the best ever. He won 10 consecutive title defenses over seven years as the UFC's 185-pound champion until losing the belt to Chris Weidman in 2013.
Silva is likely to face a disciplinary hearing soon before the Nevada commission, and his license to fight likely will be suspended. Silva has never publicly failed a drug test in his MMA career, but could face a nine-month suspension for a first offense.
Yahoo Sports also reported that Diaz had high levels of marijuana metabolites in his system during the pre-fight testing. Diaz has tested positive for marijuana use twice already in his career, in 2007 and 2012.
Silva's manager, Ed Soares, didn't immediately return a request for comment. The Nevada commission also didn't immediately return a request for test results.
Immediately after his victory last weekend, Silva said he hadn't decided whether to retire from the sport. He planned to consult with his wife and five children before determining his future.