The back-and-forth war between Mark Hunt and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva at UFC Fight Night 33 in Brisbane Australia has been called the best heavyweight bout in UFC history.
The bloody affair saw the Hunt and Silva trade countless power shots with each fighter having their advantage at different points throughout. In the end, the fight was declared a draw, Hunt and Silva were awarded their much-deserved $50,000 bonuses for “Fight of the Night,” and MMA fans everywhere were left buzzing in the wake of one of the most violent and entertaining bouts ever seen.
But it’s not all praise and nostalgia quite yet, unfortunately.
“Bigfoot” had apparently received a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) prior to the bout, something that was fully known by the UFC.
However, his levels still tested outside of the allowed range.
Silva has been suspended for nine months and his $50,000 has been awarded to Hunt. Silva will also have the bout changed to a No Contest while staying a draw on Hunt’s record. The UFC released an official statement on the finding:
“Silva is on a medically approved regimen of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), and had been in compliance with therapeutic guidelines on all pre-fight tests performed prior to the event,” a statement issued by a UFC rep read. “The results of his test on the day of the event indicated a level of testosterone outside of allowable limit. Silva has been informed that the elevated testosterone level is a violation of the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy and his Promotional Agreement with Zuffa.”
Silva is disputing the claims, but not in the sense you’d think. He admits that the test failure was real but his doctors, rather than him, are the ones to blame, stating the following on Facebook:
Clarification: Months before my fight I looked for the UFC doctor Marcio Tannure in Brazil so I could start the hormonal replacement “TRT” which was authorized and recognized by a professional. I started the treatment and 2 weeks before my fight I did all the exams required by the UFC. My testosterone level continued to be low so I was recommended by the doctor to increase the dosage. Unfortunately my level increased too much and caused me to suspend. I only did what was recommended by someone trained who understands about the subject therefore it was not my mistake. I’m cool because I know that the mistake was not made by me, I never tried doing anything wrong for my fight.
Interesting point of view, but ultimately it’s probably not a statement that’s going to hold up in front of the powers that be.
That’s bad news for Silva, who was suspended in 2008 for using the anabolic steroid boldenone. “Bigfoot” challenged the ruling, citing a testosterone booster used to combat the side effects of his battle with gigantism. Silva once had a cyst causing his pituitary gland to release large amounts of growth hormone into his system. He got it removed but his testosterone levels were affected adversely, prompting the need for TRT.
He was cleared to use it despite while monitored by athletic commissions regarding his very specific medical situation. That’s not the issue here, though.
The unnecessarily large dosage is, and it’s pretty cut and dry after Silva already admitted to it. With his latest suspension, “Bigfoot” is beginning to become a liability despite his ability to put on a show. Can he be trusted to show up clean for his future Octagon endeavors?
Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez for USA TODAY Sports