10 Most Laughable Excuses For Failed Drug Tests In MMA

Sonnen Jones Silva

As with many other sports, mixed martial arts has always had its fair share of cheaters who will try to get away with using performance-enhancing drugs in the hopes of gaining a competitive advantage in the cage.

However, when it comes to making up excuses for why they’ve failed a drug test, it’s fair to say that MMA fighters truly are in a league of their own.

As you’ll discover in the pages that follow, in MMA no excuse is too flimsy, too far-fetched, or frankly just too downright embarrassing not to be used in an attempt to convince people that this is all just a big mistake and their bulging biceps, limitless cardio and superhuman powers of recovery have nothing to do with a cocktail of illegal drugs surging through their system.

anderson silva steroids nsac ban fired ufc 148 chael sonnen

Anderson Silva

The mixed martial arts world was rocked in 2015 by the news that arguably the greatest fighter of all time, Anderson Silva had tested positive for two anabolic steroids.

Silva was quick to protest his innocence, declaring that, “I always played clean, I was never a cheater,” and vowed to clear his name.

We all wanted to believe him, and several months his team confidently declared that he would be cleared at an upcoming Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing.

MMA fans waited with baited breath in the hope that this had all just been a big misunderstanding, only to discover that the best his legal team could come up with was that he’d unwittingly taken a tainted love potion.

The ludicrous story that unfolded during the hearing was that Silva had been given this mysterious sexual enhancement medication (originating from Thailand and housed in an unlabeled blue vial) by a friend, and had consumed it for three months prior to his fight without ever stopping to question whether it was above board or not.

If that wasn’t comical enough, an ingenious fan managed to hack into NSAC’s speakerphone system during the hearing and played hits including, Salt N Pepa’s – ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’, 2 live Crew’s – ‘Me So Horny,’ and Shaggy’s – ‘It Wasn’t Me’, which had even the commissioners struggling to stifle their laughter.

Needless to say NSAC didn’t believe a word of his defense, and Silva would be hit with a one year suspension as well as a $360,000 fine.


Frank Mir

Frank Mir

Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir began clutching at straws after it emerged that he had tested positive for an anabolic steroid metabolite – oral turinabol – on the night of his loss to Mark Hunt at UFC Fight Night 85 in Brisbane, Australia.

To his credit, rather than wheeling out the well-worn excuses we’re used to hearing in these kind of situations, the 36 year-old veteran began thinking way outside the box, blaming the failed test on…tainted kangaroo meat.

”You’re telling me USADA are gonna go down, and, on my behalf, try to test all the different meats to see if, well, you know, kanagaroos are wild and this guy wanted to beef em’ up so he bought something that was very abundant,” Mir rambled during an episode of his Phone Booth Fighting podcast.

“In the study that I did, oral turinabol could be bought in powdered form.  You put it on the food and you bulk up your livestock, and you could sell it into the stores because now you get more bang for your buck. An animal that takes two years to reach maturity, you know, muscle weight, now in four months he’s bigger than he’s ever gonna be and you slaughter him. It’s a common practice.”

After the ‘b’ sample for his test also came back positive a month later, Mir again clung to the same Kangaroo meat theory, but acknowledged that he had no chance of proving any of this, leaving him facing a two-year suspension and the prospect of retirement from the sport.

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Chael Sonnen

Chael Sonnen famously came within just a few minutes of defeating longtime middleweight champion Anderson at UFC 117 in 2010, and then infamously failed a post-fight drug test, coming in with a testosterone level 17 times higher than the average man.

Sonnen was suspended for 12 months by CSAC, but in an awkward, and at times truly bizarre, appeal later that year, the fighter claimed he had low testosterone not because he’d been using steroids, but instead due to a condition called Hypogonadism, which results in diminished function of his testicles, inhibiting his bodies ability to produce testosterone.

During the hearing Sonnen testified that he’d previously spoken to NSAC director Keith Keizer about this and had been approved for TRT by that commission, which helped convince CSAC to reduce his suspension to just six months.

However, later Keizer revealed that he’d never spoken to Sonnen in his life and that the fighter hadn’t been approved for TRT by NSAC, which led to him having to serve the full year’s suspension after all.

In the summer of 2014, Sonnen was back in the news for all the wrong reasons after testing positive for two banned substances, anastrozole and clomiphene.

In subsequent television interviews passionately denied he was taking the substance to gain a competitive advantage, and instead claimed he was trying to become fertile so he could have children with his wife.

However, when it then emerged that Sonnen had tested positive for no less than four more banned substances, including HGH, hCG and EPO, the fighter finally held his hands up and admitted he had purposefully used performance enhancing drugs to cheat, resulting in a two-year ban.

ped users in mma

Hector Lombard

Given that he possesses one of the most jacked physiques in all of MMA, it wasn’t exactly a huge surprise when it emerged in 2015 that Hector Lombard had tested positive for designer steroid, desoxymethyltestosterone.

Nonetheless, Lombard tried to shift the blame for his failed test on Canadian weightlifter Julie Northrup, who had also been a member of the Canadian bobsleigh team in 2002.

According to Lombard, Northrup gave him the pills, claiming to have used them during her career and assured him they were, “made from plants.”

However, NSAC weren’t buying Lombard’s claims of ignorance regarding it’s true effects, noting that he’d failed to tell anyone, including the commission, his coaches and his teammates, that he was taking it.

As such, despite Lombard pleading with them to, “give me a second chance,” NSAC handed the fighter a year-long ban and fined him in the region of $70,000.

Chad Mendes

Chad Mendes

Former featherweight title challenger Chad Mendes found himself being handed a two-year suspension from the sport in 2016 after testing positive for banned substance GHRP-6, which is designed to increase your body’s production of growth hormone releasing peptides.

One of the most ripped fighters in the 145lb division, Mendes kept a low profile after the news broke, but eventually he broke cover to offer up an excuse, claiming that his failed test was due to a cream he was using to treat his skin condition, Psoriasis.

To be fair to Mendes, it has been confirmed that he does indeed have Psoriasis, but medical experts later came out expressing major doubts about that being the reason he’d tested positive.

”[Mendes] has no argument whatsoever,” a licensed Pharmacist told MMA journalist Luke Thomas on his Promotional Malpractice podcast. “No creams that are used for that treatment would ever cause a positive test for growth hormone peptides.”

“GHRP-6 is not an FDA approved treatment for a condition like psoriasis, so you would never see it on any of these product’s labels,” another Pharmacist stated on the same show.

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BJ Penn

”I love the New PED and IV ban in the UFC. IV’s are for wimps!” BJ Penn loudly declared on Twitter in the summer of 2015 after the UFC stepped up their anti-doping regime.

Less than a year later, Penn’s intended comeback to the Octagon hit a rather embarrassing stumbling block when he was suddenly pulled from the UFC 199 fight card for…using an IV drip.

The former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion would later reveal that he’d voluntarily informed USADA about having been administered an IV drip during a hospital visit, not realizing that the ban on using it was all-year round and not just in the lead-up to a fight.

Nevertheless, it’s fair to say that Penn probably didn’t love the IV ban quite as much as he thought he did after being slapped with a six-month suspension.


Alistair Overeem

Due to his ludicrously muscular frame, rumors that Alistair Overeem, aka ‘Ubereem’ was using PEDs followed him throughout much of his career.

MMA fans suspicions finally appeared to be proven correct in 2012 when Overeem failed a drug test prior to UFC 146 due to his testosterone-to-epitestosterone levels being over two times higher than the legal limit.

However, the Dutchman’s manager Glenn Robinson insisted that the fighter had a “reasonable explanation” for why this was, and Overeem later issued a statement telling his side of the story.

”Prior to the UFC 146 press conference in March, I aggravated an old rib injury on my left side,” Overeem stated. “My doctor prescribed, and I accepted, an anti-inflammatory medication that was mixed with testosterone. I was completely unaware that testosterone was one of the ingredients in the medication.”

Despite his claim, NSAC opted to deny him a license to fight for a further nine months, and experts later questioned whether Overeem’s excuse was valid.

”Testosterone is never included in these injections for any legitimate purposes. In the U.S., if a physician, in fact, injected him with testosterone without his knowledge and consent, he should file a complaint with the appropriate state board of medicine and file charges with law enforcement,” Dr, Johnny Benjamin wrote in his ‘Ask The Fight Doc’ article for MMAjunkie.com.

”If he is unwilling to do so, it speaks volumes as to the truthfulness of his assertions.”

Overeem never did file a complaint and he still competes in the UFC to this day, though fans have now taken to calling him ‘Econoreem’ due to his noticeably smaller, significantly less muscular build.

wanderlei silva mma fail

Wanderlei Silva

Wanderlei Silva is the only fighter on this list who didn’t actually fail a drug test, but that’s only because he didn’t give officials a chance to administer it in the first place!

In the lead up to his fight with Chael Sonnen at UFC 175 in the summer of 2014, a drug testing official tracked down Silva at his gym in Las Vegas to provide a urine and blood sample.

Silva agreed, but then asked if he could see his manager who was also in the gym.

”He walked back to the front counter and then walked past the office toward the back of the gym and went around the corner to the right,” the testing official told NSAC. “I casually followed behind him, and when I turned around the corner I realized there was an exit there and a bathroom. I didn’t see him anywhere.”

The Axe Murderer’ had apparently fled the scene via the back exit and remained unreachable for the rest of the day, despite officials attempts to get in touch with him.

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Silva denied having run from the test, instead making the excuse that, “I had to leave since it was the day of the Barao fight and I was really busy.”

However, at a NSAC hearing in June, Silva acknowledged that he would have failed the test, claiming that he had been taking illegal diuretics for the sole purpose of speeding up the healing process of an injured wrist.

NSAC initially hammered Silva with a lifetime ban for his actions, claiming that he’d set a dangerous precedent by fleeing the test, though in 2016 a retrial led to that being reduced to a three year retroactive suspension.


Royce Gracie

UFC legend Royce Gracie avenged an infamous loss to Kazushi Sakuraba when he defeated him by unanimous decision at Dynamite!! USA in June of 2007.

However, what should have been a cause for celebration quickly soured when it emerged that the Brazilian icon had tested positive for steroids after the fight.

Two years later Gracie finally broke his silence on the matter, attempting to protect his legacy by denying that he’d ever taken performance enhancing drugs.

”I have no idea what they’re talking about,” Gracie told The Telegraph newspaper. “Look at my first UFC. 178 [pounds]. Look at my last fight. 180. For accusing me of using drugs…I never gained a pound in my life. It’s not like I went from 178 to 200 pounds. It’s ridiculous.”

That’s not exactly the sort of scientific reasoning that’s going to stand up in court, but even if it did, any credibility his somewhat dubious excuse may have had was crushed when ESPN later pointed out in a separate article that Gracie had actually came in at 188lbs for the Sakuraba rematch, compared to 175lbs just a year earlier for a fight with Matt Hughes in the UFC.


Jon Jones

Given his past history, Jon Jones being removed from the historic UFC 200 just days before the event due to a failed drug test seemed very much in character for the man who Dana White recently described as the, “greatest talent ever and the biggest screw-up ever.”

However, in a hastily arranged press conference, the star broke down in tears as he denied knowingly having taken two banned estrogen blockers.

”I would never take anything that would enhance my game,” Jones told, of all people, Chael Sonnen, at the presser. “I wouldn’t cheat.”

Several months later his mood lightened when word emerged that his legal team had found evidence that he’d inadvertently taken a tainted supplement.

It then became clear that Jones was going for a dubious move straight out of Anderson Silva’s playbook, claiming that he’d been offered a pill by a teammate that he believed to be the sexual enhancer, Cialis, but instead turned out to be a tainted brand called Tadalafil.

In fairness to him, Jones lent more credibility to this excuse than Silva, if only because he used to go by the nickname, ‘Sexual Chocolate’, had once been arrested in the car park of a strip mall, had previously copped a DWI charge after crashing his Bentley late at night with two females in the back (neither of which was his fiancée), and let’s not forget the time he fled the scene of a hit-and-run accident, leaving behind a packet of Trojan Magnum condoms.

Nevertheless, USADA weren’t overly impressed with his excuse, suspending him for a year while stating that, “his degree of fault in fact verged on the reckless,” for supposedly taking the pill without knowing anything about it.