MMA Steroid Busts: The Definitive Timeline [UPDATED With Testosterone Busts]

MMA Steroid Busts

Is steroid use an epidemic in MMA? Or are most of the fighters who have tested positive simply the victims of inept athletic commissions, shady nutritional supplements, and tainted goat meat? After Josh Barnett’s latest chemical misadventure took down Affliction, we decided to round up every steroid bust in the sport since early 2002, when the Nevada State Athletic Commission began testing MMA fighters for performance-enhancing drugs. The results…may shock you.

Update, 11/5/13: Beginning with Chael Sonnen in 2010, several MMA fighters have failed drug tests due to elevated testosterone, without being caught for a specific steroid. To keep things orderly around here, we’ve quarantined those busts on page 2.


Caught: 4/22/02, following his TKO victory over Randy Couture at UFC 36.
Tested positive for: Boldenone, Nandrolone, and Fluoxymesterone
Punishment: A six-month suspension from the NSAC and the loss of his UFC heavyweight title. Barnett fought the steroid charge, and didn’t compete again in the U.S. until PRIDE 32, four and a half years later. (See: Belfort, Nastula)
In his own words: “I am a fighter, not a lawyer. I am innocent, and I should be fighting right now.”
Repeat offender: Barnett actually tested positive once before, for two different anabolic steroids, following his submission via strikes victory over Bobby Hoffman at UFC 34 in November 2001. Josh was let off with a warning (which went unheeded, apparently) and the incident was never officially reported — but according to Sherdog’s Mike Sloan, Barnett’s first positive steroid test is what inspired Nevada to begin regularly testing UFC fighters for performance enhancing drugs.

Caught: 10/7/03, following his first-round knockout of Gan McGee at UFC 44.
Tested positive for: Stanozolol
Punishment: $10,000 fine and a six-month suspension from the NSAC. Sylvia voluntarily vacated his heavyweight title following his positive steroid test.
In his own words: “[A]fter I fought Ricco [Rodriguez], I was in for a long layoff. I decided to try some things and maybe change my physique a little bit and get in better shape. But whatever I used, it came back positive. I don’t know how that happened. I did it so long ago and I was way off it before I fought McGee. I think they found it in my fat cells. I guess it stays in there for a while, huh?…I heard what Josh [Barnett] had used, so I used something different and I was only using it to trim my physique. I thought that what I was using, it was going to be out by the time I fought McGee. I fought Gan and apparently it wasn’t out.”

Caught: 8/16/04, following his TKO loss to Ken Shamrock at UFC 48.
Tested positive for: Stanozolol
Punishment: $5,000 fine and a six-month suspension from the NSAC.
In his own words: “I wasn’t quite on par for that fight, and yeah, I did use some substances, and I did do some Winstrol in that fight, but at that time it was so early that I didn’t know I was going to be tested. That doesn’t justify it, but I wasn’t using it as a performance enhancer to be strong or whatever. It was just something… an extra little kick.”
Leading by example: “Yes, I used steroids in my past to help support my efforts as a professional athlete/fighter. However, my experiences whether negative or positive have given me greater insight into the crutches of life’s downfalls and my decisions today come from experiences. I will say that my choices and decision-making ability are educated decisions and made from a position of informed consent, as opposed to blind guidance. I can be honest about my past and can look a fighter in the eye and tell him/her with great confidence that use of illicit substances is not worth the future health issues it creates nor is it worth the risk they are taking against their license.”

Caught: 8/15/05, following his unanimous decision win over Ivan Salaverry at Ultimate Fight Night 1.
Tested positive for: Nandrolone
Punishment: A suspension from the NSAC that was lifted on January 5th, after two separate follow-up tests came up negative for the drug.
In his own words: “I never thought it’d be an issue. I’d been taking some over-the-counter supplements at a Max Muscle store. It was something like what Mark McGwire took, androstenedione. I never thought of that stuff being tested. It was a stupid mistake. People are going to believe what they want to believe, but I’ve been clean in my last three fights — I’m not taking anything that’s not independently tested anymore — and I’m fighting just as well as I ever have…I know some guys just knowingly take steroids, but there’s not enough [information] about what causes false positives, about contamination risks, all that. You have to watch out for things. We don’t always know what not to take. That’s the real gray area. That’s my story.”

Caught: 7/20/06, two days before he was scheduled to fight Bas Rutten at WFA: King of the Streets.
Tested positive for: Stanozolol
Punishment: Leopoldo was pulled from the match with Rutten, but received no official punishment. Kimo took a fight in London two months after the WFA incident (a submission loss against Dave Legeno), and fought in Hawaii just one week after that, losing to Wes Sims by TKO.
In the words of Bas Rutten: “Every guy who uses steroids to fight is a fucking pussy. For him to do this shit after all the promotion he did, all the shit he talked about me — taking me out in minutes and all that bullshit — apparently that was the steroids talking, right?”
In Kimo’s own words: “I actually had a prescribed medication that was in my system. I had a knee surgery that I had approximately a year ago, so my doctor prescribed me a few things to help me out in my recovery, and this was taken before I even had a clue about this fight with Bas. I was completely done taking it when I found out about this fight…I really believed that it would be out of my system. I knew I was going to get tested, after my previous thing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission. I know no matter what now every fight is going to be like that. Now, knowing this and I’m a pretty intelligent guy, when I step into this doctor’s office, if I had any clue and I was going to cheat, I would have had fake pee. There’s a lot of ways around tests if you want to cheat, but I had no reason to do that because I felt I was correct…I don’t want to sound like one of those guys who says they were set up, but I don’t feel like I was done right.”

Caught: 10/26/06, following his unanimous decision loss to Dan Henderson at PRIDE 32.
Tested positive for: 4-Hydroxytestosterone
Punishment: $10,000 fine and a nine-month suspension from the NSAC.
In his own words: “I bought a supplement called ‘Max Tribostak’ at Max Muscle in La Habra, California, which contains 4-Hydroxytestosterone. I had no idea that a supplement bought over the counter at a vitamin store would contain a substance that is illegal in the state of Nevada.”

Caught: 10/26/06, following his submission loss against Josh Barnett at PRIDE 32.
Tested positive for: Nandrolone
Punishment: $6,500 fine and a nine-month suspension from the NSAC.
In his own defense: “Nastula has denied the veracity of the test results, claiming that the stimulants were absorbed into his system from over-the-counter supplements and that nandrolone, a mass-building substance, would not have been useful to him as he has not gained any muscle mass since coming to PRIDE.”

Caught: 11/3/06, following his second unanimous decision loss to Forrest Griffin at UFC 62.
Tested positive for: Boldenone
Punishment: $5,000 fine and a nine-month suspension from the NSAC.
In his own words: “I was desperate. My right elbow had been bad for a while, and I hurt it bad getting ready for Rashad [Evans on June 28]. Right after that fight, I thought I’d have some time off to do some therapy, rehab and heal. And five days later, I get a call to fight Forrest in a month and a half. I was worried. I was looking for something to speed up the healing. I just was worried I was not going to be able to fight, and they needed me. This wasn’t an undercard fight; it was the main event. Pulling out was not an option.”

Caught: 1/25/07, following his submission via strikes loss to Rob McCullough at WEC 25.
Tested positive for: Boldenone
Punishment: $1,167 fine and a nine-month suspension from the NSAC.
In his own words: “I got a complete reconstruction of the AC joint in my shoulder which sucks a lot. After that the doctor a shot a substance called Boldenone and that is an anabolic substance…What that does is basically, in athletes, doctors will give them those substances which increases protein faster and help me heal faster. It was definitely not for performance… This stuff can stay in your system for 18 months, very similar to Nandrolone, which a lot of people test positive for…I only scored a 7 and it’s detectable at 5, so in a few days, a few pisses, it would have been gone. Below 5 it is not findable. It’s not that the substance is not in your body but they test for the trash it leaves behind…so it wasn’t active in my body just the shit it left. Which proves it was very old. So every bit of common sense shows I was not taking it for a performance enhancer.”

Caught: 6/13/07, following his 38-second knockout loss against Bernard Ackah at Dynamite!! USA.
Tested positive for: Unspecified anabolic steroids. Morton’s pre-fight urine test came back as positive for a very elevated T/E (testosterone) ratio — 83.9, when the average for an athlete is 6.
Punishment: $2,500 fine and an indefinite suspension from the California State Athletic Commission. Morton’s $100,000 purse was also withheld after he refused to take a post-fight drug test. He hasn’t competed since.

Caught: 6/14/07, following his unanimous decision win over Kazushi Sakuraba at Dynamite!! USA.
Tested positive for: Nandrolone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC. Gracie hasn’t competed since.
In his own words: “I have no idea what they’re talking about. 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.”

Caught: 6/26/07, following his TKO loss to Jesse Taylor at Total Combat 21.
Tested positive for: Nandrolone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.

Caught: 7/7/07, following his technical submission loss to Frank Shamrock at Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Baroni.
Tested positive for: Boldenone and Stanozolol
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a six-month suspension from the CSAC, reduced from one year after an appeal; follow-up tests with Baroni’s urine sample came back negative for the drugs.
In his own words: “I don’t do stuff like that. I don’t need it. Being big and strong has never been something I needed help with.”

Caught: 7/19/07, following his unanimous decision win against Hermes Franca at UFC 73.
Tested positive for: Nandrolone
Punishment: The loss of his UFC lightweight title, a $2,500 fine, and a one-year suspension from the CSAC which was reduced to six-months after Sherk made an appeal arguing that the testing lab (Quest Laboratories) used dirty vials and botched the chain of custody for his sample.
In his own words: “I didn’t know you could go into a store like a GNC and buy something that would have illegal stuff in it, but I guess you can. I was stunned. I didn’t know that. I’ve also started doing my own pre-testing, which I’ll do before every fight now just to be sure…

I took the polygraph test three times to try and prove that I was telling the truth. I know they say polygraphs aren’t 100% reliable, but after three tests you’d think that if I was lying it would have shown up in at least one of them. I’ve got nothing to hide. I’ve always said that and tried to prove that. I have absolutely nothing to hide.

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I’ve done everything I can do to clear my name. It’s up to each individual to look at the facts and decide for themselves whether they believe me or not. The problem is that a lot of people don’t bother to look at the facts first. They just hear ‘positive test’ and they look at me and what I’ve done and think, ‘Oh, he’s got to be on something.’”

Caught: 7/19/07, following his unanimous decision loss to Sean Sherk at UFC 73.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.
In his own words: “I would like to apologize to my fans, the UFC, my students and family. I offer only an explanation and not an excuse. I made a decision during a difficult time in my training for the fight that I regret. About 8 weeks out from the fight, I badly injured my ankle during a training session. For the following week I had rested it, rehabbed it and tried to work around the injury. It was obvious that I could not train as required.

I contacted the UFC and explained my injury and how I could not possibly train to the level I thought I would need in order to be properly prepared for my fight. I asked the UFC if we could push the fight out to the following UFC with the chance that it could happen. They explained that they could not do that and that the card had been set and it isn’t as easy as just moving around a fight. I totally understood their position. They asked me to keep them informed should I not be able to fight…

I had not fought for 5 months. Fighting is literally how I put food on my wife and child’s table and how I pay my bills. As a fighter though, even at this level, I live a simple life and I literally live from fight to fight. Not getting a paycheck for another few months and losing my chance to fight Sean for the title was overpowering. Fighting is the life I chose and I love it…

At this point, I was desperate and needed anything I could to get my injury as close to healing as possible and be able to recover from the daily training regimen I was going through. I made the shortsighted choice to hopefully accelerate the healing process and allow me to keep training. Under the pressure of literally not being able to pay next month’s bills I made a choice. I had to fight and did whatever I could to do so.

I hope my fans, students, the UFC and the public accept my sincere apology. Whatever punishment is dictated by the California Athletic Commission, I will understand. I would like to get through this very difficult time and the times ahead and get back to fighting. All the best to my fans and much thanks to my family and friends that continue to support me during these times.”

Caught: 10/3/07, following his TKO loss to Jess Liaudin at UFC 75.
Tested positive for: Boldenone. Torres was the first fighter to be caught by a UFC-administered steroid test.
Punishment: Torres was released from his UFC contract. Since there was no athletic commission that had jurisdiction where the fight took place (London, England), he wasn’t fined or suspended from competition, although U.S. athletic commissions were informed of his positive test. Torres competed four months later in his native Hawaii, losing a decision to Michael Brightmon, and hasn’t fought since.

Caught: 10/15/07, following his submission via rib injury loss to Bobby Southworth at Strikeforce’s first Playboy Mansion show.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.
In his own words: “I did in fact start the use of an anabolic agent approximately the third week in August. This was at a time that I thought I was done fighting and was suffering from a chronic joint inflammation of my hip. I did not want to miss the opportunity of fighting for a great promoter like Strikeforce…I do believe that there was no benefit from the amount ingested. I still tested positive and for that I would like to apologize to Strikeforce, Bodog Fight, and the sport of MMA in general.”
Oddly enough: Despite owning up to the steroid use, Mahood tried to appeal his suspension anyway. He returned to action this past March, scoring a submission win over Marcus Hicks at a King of the Cage event in Edmonton.

Caught: 10/17/07, following his unanimous decision loss to Dewey Cooper at Strikeforce’s first Playboy Mansion show.
Tested positive for: Nandrolone and Stanozolol — as well as cocaine and marijuana.
Punishment: $4,000 fine and a 21-month suspension from the CSAC. Smith earned just $500 for the fight.
And the cherry on the failure cake: “Adam Smith’s appeal was dropped after he failed to appear at his scheduled hearing.”

Caught: 11/19/07, following his TKO loss against Richard Blake at Rebel Fights: Unleashed Fury.
Tested positive for: Stanozolol and the veterinary steroid Trenbolone — as well as methadone and morphine. Sounds like somebody’s been partying with Adam Smith…
Punishment: $4,000 fine and a 21-month suspension from the CSAC.

Caught: 11/28/07, following his TKO loss to Jimmy Ambriz at WCO: Kerr vs. Gavin.
Tested positive for: 4-Hydroxytestosterone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.
In his own words: “I like to take an estrogen blocker, and at this particular time there was a new estrogen blocker on the market. I went to the local store, and anybody can pick this stuff up…Unfortunately with my arrogance, I had no idea that it had an andro stack in it…I should have known better. You need to know what you’re taking. Even if you go to GNC or Wal-Mart, there’s products out there that will test you dirty if you’re not careful.”

Caught: 11/29/07, following his submission win over Jeremiah Metcalf at Strikeforce: Four Men Enter, One Man Survives.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone and Nandrolone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.
In his own words: “I took steroids to help my neck injury heal after I had a discectomy on my C-5, 6 and 7. I wasn’t taking them to get huge or strong, just to heal faster. I honestly think that taking steroids is counter-productive for MMA, they do not improve how you punch or how good you are at subs. They actually hurt your cardio which is the biggest factor in MMA. That being said, I made the decision to take steroids, even though I believe that in my circumstance they should be allowed (for healing injuries)… Looking back, it was a good thing getting suspended. It showed me that I didn’t have to fight every time a fight came up. I had fought unprepared and unhealthy many times in my career. The year break showed me that there will be other fights. It kinda made me grow up a little as a fighter.”

Caught: 11/29/07, following his unanimous decision win over Clint Coronel at Strikeforce: Four Men Enter, One Man Survives.
Tested positive for: Desoxymethyltestosterone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.

Caught: 5/15/08, following her submission win over Sophie Bagherdai at Femme Fatale Fighting 4.
Tested positive for: Nandrolone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.
You’ve come a long way, baby: Damm became the first female MMA fighter to test positive for steroids.
Another cunning stunt: In June 2013, Damm caught a six-month suspension and a $550 fine from the Ohio Athletic Commission following her decision loss to Jessica Eye at NAAFS: “Fight Night In The Flats 9,” for submitting a urine sample that was determined to be a substance other than urine. Damm was given a surprise drug test (along with five other fighters) during an intermission at the NAAFS event, shortly before she was scheduled to compete. Each sample came back clean for banned substances, but Damm’s raised suspicion, and was later verified as lacking the elements found in urine. Said Ohio Athletic Commission Executive Director Bernie Profato: ”Even the doctor, when he first handed the sample to me, he said, ‘I’m not a lab person, but two things here. One, this is kind of clear, and two, it’s cold!’” Damm competed two weeks later in Rio de Janeiro, and TKO’d Jessica Suelen in 49 seconds.

Caught: 7/7/08, following his TKO loss to Jose Aldo at WEC 34.
Tested positive for: Boldenone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.
In his own words: “I never used anything…If I used something it would be growth hormones, which is what every top athlete usually uses. I took the usual supplements — Glutamine, Creatine and Myoplex. If I had taken it, I would be very aggressive in the fight, and those who saw it realize that I was not aggressive. And this type of anabolic steroid is to get fat, to gain weight, and is used on animals. I had seminars and I had only eaten in restaurants specializing in barbecued meat, and they use this in cattle and goats there and they may have used it in any animal that I ate.”

Caught: 8/21/08, following his TKO win over Justin Eilers at EliteXC: Unfinished Business.
Tested positive for: Boldenone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC. The following January, Silva thumbed his abnormally large nose at the suspension and took a fight in Japan, defeating Yoshihiro “Kiss” Nakao by first-round TKO due to injury.
In his own words: “I did not use the steroid Boldenone, or any other steroid of prohibited substance. I dont agree and never have agreed with the use of this kind of product in order to win, for this is cheating. I will go to the full extent of my power and the law to prove my innocence in this matter.”
In his manager’s words: Silva’s positive test for Boldenone was caused by his use of Novadex, a testosterone-booster that Silva uses to counteract the low testosterone levels caused by his acromegaly. “He has to treat it,” said Alex Davis. “He spends between $6,000 and $8,000 a month just on medicine for it. He needs to be able to keep fighting to make a living. If it’s between Antonio’s health and pleasing the athletic commission, we have to choose his health.”

Caught: 8/21/08, following his TKO loss against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at Affliction: Banned.
Tested positive for: A massive amount of Nandrolone. The CSAC’s Bill Douglas said that the amount of the steroid in Dewees’ system — 499ng/ml, if you want to get technical — was “hard to explain.”
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.

Caught: 11/3/08, following his decision loss to Michael Bisping at UFC 89.
Tested positive for: Stanozolol
Punishment: Forfeit of one-third of his fight purse and a nine-month suspension from the UFC.
In his own words: “I’ve really done everything I can to turn my life around, and this is a huge setback for me. But it’s something I will have to deal with. During my time off from fighting, I want to speak to kids about the dangers of using performance-enhancing agents and let them know it just doesn’t get you ahead in life. Of course, this is a hard hit for me monetarily, but more so this is embarrassing for me and for all my fans.”

Caught: 3/3/09, following his TKO loss to Paul Buentello at Affliction: Day of Reckoning.
Tested positive for: Stanozolol
Punishment: $2,500 fine and one-year suspension from the CSAC. In May, Sidelnikov competed at an M-1 Challenge event in Russia (where the CSAC suspension wasn’t recognized), earning a submission win over Rezvan Danyalov.
In M-1’s own words: “In preparation for his Affliction debut against Paul Buentello in January, Kirill spent some time training outside of the Imperial Team family in St. Petersburg. Kirill indicated that during that time away he began to experience complications from a broken nose that he had recently sustained. Not wanting to miss any training time leading up to ‘Day of Reckoning,’ Kirill followed the advice of a coach not affiliated with M-1 who gave him a nose spray commonly used in Russia to help treat some of his symptoms. It is M-1′s belief that the nose spray is what contained the Stanozol. For those that are skeptical of this explanation, we believe Kirill’s account is true based in large part to his physique. If he had been using large amounts of Stanozol on a regular basis, we believe that the frame of his upper body would have contained leaner muscle that had more definition. While we are not citing youth as an excuse, we feel we need to offer the public an explanation and we attribute the mistake in part to the fact that Kirill is just 20 years of age.”

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Caught: 3/11/09, following his submission win over super-heavyweight tubbaguts Ross Clifton at WarGods: Valentine’s Eve Massacre.
Tested positive for: 19-Norandrosterone, 19-Noretiocholanolone, and Stanozolol
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.
In his manager’s words: “Ken was taking legal over-the-counter products, and based upon our preliminary research, I’m investigating if those products were the result of these findings,” said Rod Donohoo.
In his brother’s words: “Ken did [steroids] his whole life. Why do you think that his mind is so fried? Why do you think he crumbles before the big fights? He’s got no psyche. He let steroids give him a false sense of security and the moment that stuff is gone he’s no longer superman.”


Caught: 7/21/09, 11 days before he was scheduled to fight Fedor Emelianenko in the main event of Affliction: Trilogy.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone
Punishment: The eternal shame of single-handedly taking down an entire MMA organization and costing 23 other fighters their paychecks; the likelihood of never being licensed to fight in the U.S. again.
In his own words: “I never once thought there would be a problem.”

Caught: 8/17/09, following his unanimous decision win over Fredson Paixao at WEC 42.
Tested positive for: Methasterone
Punishment: $4,000 fine and a nine-month suspension from the NSAC; his win against Paixao was changed to a no-contest.
In his own words: “Province…is convinced the positive test resulted from his use of the supplement SOS 500 from Double Dragon Pharmaceuticals. ‘I wasn’t trying to get any super-human strength or anything like that, I just wanted to get some extra water into my muscles,’ Province told ‘I didn’t know it was banned but, still, with that said, I am responsible. I should have checked into it but I just want to make it clear that I took an over-the-counter supplement, not steroids.’”

Caught: 11/2/10, following his submission loss to Rob Broughton at UFC 120.
Tested positive for: Stanozolol
Punishment: Quieroz was released by the UFC after failing a random drug screening administered by the promotion before their London event, and was forced to forfeit an undisclosed discretionary bonus. The UFC has informed the Nevada State Athletic Commission of Quieroz’s failed test, which could affect his ability to secure a license to fight in the U.S.
In his own words: “I was caught by surprise with this doping thing. I’d never use something that could ruin my career, something that could bring me any kind of problems…I won some imported supplements and I used it, and there were some prescribed medicines too…For what I’ve heard, the quantity of this substance on my test was very small, and my coach said that if I really had used it to have some kind of advantage on the fights, I’d have to take much more than that, so it wouldn’t change anything. I don’t have a single reason why to use it, this is a drug for you to lose weight and get stone, and I don’t have any reasons to lose weight and fight a huge guy.”

Caught: 3/2/11, following his submission loss to Jorge Oliveira at Tachi Palace Fights 7
Tested positive for: Epitrenbolone
Punishment: Fine (undisclosed amount) and a one-year suspension from the CSAC.

Caught: 3/29/11, following his unanimous decision win over Brandon Vera at UFC 125.
Tested positive for: Nothing. Silva was temporarily suspended when the urine he provided for his UFC 125 drug test was deemed “inconsistent with human urine,” suggesting that he “submitted an adulterated and/or substituted specimen for testing for the urinalysis.” In a hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission on April 7th, Silva admitted that he submitted a synthetic urine sample to mask the fact that he had received injections of an unspecified steroid 45 and 30 days out from the Vera bout to help him recover from a back injury.
Punishment: $33,750 fine and a one-year suspension from the NSAC.
In his own words: “I just want to apologize for what I did. I did what I did because my back was very, very bad a couple months (before the fight). I had not fought for one year. I was completely broke. I have a family. People depend on my money. I was desperate to do something. I know what I did is wrong. Like I said, I’m so sorry. I had my reasons. People depend on my money, and I had to give them support.”

 1/6/12, following her knockout win against Hiroko Yamanaka at Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal.
Tested positive for: Stanozolol
Punishment: $2,500 fine and the suspension of her license by the CSAC. Santos was also stripped of her Strikeforce women’s featherweight title and the result of her win over Yamanaka was changed to a no contest.
In her own words: “While I was preparing myself for my last fight I was having a difficult time cutting weight and used a dietary supplement that I was assured was safe and not prohibited from use in sports competition. It was never my intention to obtain an unfair advantage over Hiroko, mislead StrikeForce, the Commission or my fans. I train harder than any fighter in MMA and do not need drugs to win in the cage, and I have proven this time and time again! My only mistake is not verifying the diet aid with my doctor beforehand, and understanding that it was not approved for use in the ring. Unfortunately in the end I suffer the consequences and must accept the responsibility for my actions. I will do everything I can to show my fans that I can still compete at the professional level without the use of any prohibited substances, and ask God’s forgiveness for my mistake.”

Caught: 1/17/12, following his knockout win against Lorenz Larkin at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine.
Tested positive for: Drostanalone
Punishment: Lawal faces a one-year suspension, a fine, and the overturning of his win to a no-contest.
In his own words: “I’m very surprised about this. I am very careful about what I put into my body. I’ve never tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug. I’ve gone through, and still welcome, Olympic-style testing. I will do whatever is necessary to get to the bottom of this. I’m not a cheater. I might cheat at video games, but I never cheat at fighting.”

Caught: 6/15/12, following his 33-second submission of Mike Kyle at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier.
Tested positive for: Stanozolol
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the CSAC; his win over Kyle has been changed to a no-contest.
In his manager’s words: “I believe in his innocence, and we’re fighting it. We stand behind him. There’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t make sense.”

Caught: 11/2/12, following his first-round TKO loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 153. Bonnar retired from MMA immediately after the fight.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone
Punishment: A totally meaningless one-year suspension handed down by the UFC.

Caught: 1/10/13, following his decision win over Igor Pokrajac at UFC on FX 6.
Tested positive for: Nandrolone
Punishment: A nine-month suspension from the UFC, retroactive to December 14th. His win will be changed to a no-contest.
In his own words: “I can say without a shadow of a doubt I did not inject Nandrolone into my body. I am sorry to my family and friends for the shame this brought to any of you. I promise soon the whole story will be told and I will go through whatever is necessary to find the reason for this positive test. I am at fault for taking a supplement or perhaps combination of something that caused my test result. My team and I will seek the truth. I am sorry once again and truly apologize to the people that matter the most to me.”

Caught: 2/6/13, following his first-round knockout loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC on FX 7.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone
Punishment: A nine-month suspension from the UFC.


Caught: 4/24/14, following his majority draw against Justin Baesman at Bellator 115.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone
Punishment: A nine-month suspension from the NSAC and a $1,000 fine.

Caught: 7/30/14, following his first-round TKO win against Bubba Bush at UFC 175.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone
Punishment: A one-year suspension and a $5,600 fine
In his own words: “I apologize to UFC & the NSAC for my irresponsible action. I made a bad decision trying to cut weight. We are competing in a cleaner sport.”

Caught: 8/13/14, following his second-round technical submission loss to Cathal Pendred at UFC Fight Night 46 in Dublin.
Tested positive for: Nandrolone
Punishment: A nine-month suspension retroactive to the event, and the forfeiture of his $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus. King has also been released by the UFC.
In his own words: “Following my bout against Cathal Pendred at UFC Fight Night Dublin: McGregor vs. Brandao on July 19, 2014 I tested positive for the banned substance Nandrolone. The consequences for my conduct are truly significant: the life changing $50,000 Fight of The Night bonus I was awarded has been taken away, I have been informed that my UFC promotional agreement is being terminated, I have been placed on a nine month suspension, and I have publicly humiliated myself. I accept full responsibility for my actions and decisions and make no excuses.

I want to apologize to my opponent and friend Cathal Pendred, the UFC, Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, coaches, team mates, management, friends, family, and most importantly my fans. I believe in the power of redemption and second chances. I will work tirelessly to prove I am a trustworthy person who deserves the honor of competing at the highest level in the sport I love.”

Caught: 8/22/14, following his first-round submission win over Mike De La Torre at UFC on FOX 12.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone
Punishment: $2,500 fine and a nine-month suspension from the CSAC. Ortega’s victory was changed to a no-contest.
In his own words: “In preparation for my UFC debut, I used a banned substance called drostanalone. It was an irresponsible decision that I will regret for the rest of my life. I apologize to my family, friends, fans, the UFC and everyone else who was affected by my selfish actions. It should be known that my coaches were totally unaware of my decisions, and I am ashamed that I let down the people who believed in me more than I believed in myself. Going forward, I’d rather lose a fair fight to any opponent, than defeat myself the way I have done.”

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Caught: 10/6/14, following his split-decision loss to Gleison Tibau at UFC Fight Night 51.
Tested positive for: Drostanolone
Punishment: A nine-month suspension from the Brazilian Athletic Commission (CABMMA). The loss will remain on Hallmann’s record, and his $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus is expected to be revoked. Hallmann must complete additional drug testing before being licensed again.

Hector Lombard 
Caught: 1/3/15, following his unanimous decision win over Josh Burkman at UFC 182
Tested positive for: Desoxymethyltestosterone
Punishment: A one-year suspension and a $70,490 fine (or 33% of his fight purse)
In his own words: It was quite difficult, but I always believe everything happens for a reason. I don’t want to beat around the bush. A lot of people think that I was injecting with some ‘roids and stuff like that. They don’t even know the true story. What really happened was, I trusted a person that I shouldn’t trust. She was an Olympic competitor, and I’m paying for that. She told me, ‘Take these pills.’ I felt sick before the Olympics, and I know your sick, take the pills and you are going to feel better, trust me.’ So I went ahead and I took the pill. Actually, the pill screwed me up. I send you all the text messages with me and her. You see it. I know a lot of people aren’t going to believe me anyways. But, I have the proof and I’ll show you. I was pretty upset with the whole situation, but, I am okay now. She gave me the pill and my mistake was that I didn’t ask anyone. I took it, and I thought it was natural. I wasn’t expecting that a pill I would have such a strong effect.

I was sick, man, you saw me after the fight I couldn’t talk., I can barley talk, I had the flu, cutting weight, I couldn’t talk. I talked to you a couple of days after Vegas because the first few days I couldn’t talk. In the interviews I did, you can see I was really, really sick. I always believed it was meant to happen, because if I would’ve felt good, I wouldn’t be experimenting with something new or experimenting with things I don’t take. In the back of my mind, I was like, ‘I need to feel better, I need to feel better.’ During training, I was about to pass out a few times. And now I am paying for experimenting with something new.”

Anderson Silva
Caught: 1/9/15, two weeks *prior* to his unanimous decision win over Nick Diaz at UFC 183, and 2/11/15
Tested positive for: Drostanolone, Androstane
Punishment: A one-year suspension retroactive to his win at UFC 183 and a $380,000 fine
In his own words: While attempting to claim that the positive test was set off by a black market, Thai sexual enhancer he had been taking, Silva said through Ed Soares that, ”I didn’t disclose I was taking the Cialis because I didn’t think it would come up. Prior to other fights, whatever medications I took, I always disclosed, and I brought the medication to the show. I would be very uncomfortable looking at you and saying I’m taking Cialis prior the fight.”

Jorge de Oliveira
Caught: 4/9/15, following his first round submission loss to Christos Giagos at Fight Night 62
Tested positive for: Stanozolol
Punishment: Suspended for one year
In his (coaches’) words: “I was informed about it this morning, and we’re all surprised. We are waiting for more tests from the lab in Los Angeles to find out what happened. I asked Jorge and he told me he didn’t take anything. We have a good doctor and he doesn’t work with stuff like that. It’s complicated. I don’t have much to say. Jorge doesn’t even have money to buy supplements, so I want to know exactly what happened. We’ll see what happens.”

Alexander Shlemenko
Caught: 3/17/15, following his second round knockout win of Melvin Manhoef at Bellator 133
Tested positive for: Oxandrolone and oxandrolone metabolites, an elevated testosterone ratio of 50-to-1
Punishment: Three year ban and a $10,000 fine
In (his lawyer’s) words: Alexander Shlemenko denies the use of any banned substances, and looks forward to clearing his name at the next meeting of the California State Athletic Commission with his lawyer Howard Jacobs. His representatives have requested and are still awaiting the complete laboratory documentation package from the CSAC, given the extremely unusual and questionable findings that have been initially reported. The document request that has been made is consistent with the types of documents that the testing laboratory used in this case routinely provides – without the necessity for such a request ˆ in cases involving the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

It is impossible for Mr. Shlemenko to properly respond to these charges until he is provided with this basic documentation, and it is hoped that CSAC will not withhold such basic documentation.”

Mike Richman
Caught: 6/9/15, following his unanimous decision loss to Eduardo Dantas at Bellator
Tested Positive for: An undisclosed PED
Punishment: A two-year suspension and a $2,500 fine
In his own words: In regards to my positive test results for an Anabolic Steroid. I want to say that I lost the integrity in myself and the integrity of this sport. I will not sit here and deny that I took it or act like I didn’t know what I was taking or blame it on someone else. I am a cheat, plan and simple and there is no excuse or reason that is valid enough to dispute the reasons why I cheated the sport and myself by using it. I want to apologize to Bellator MMA for my actions. I want to apologize again to my hard working Teammates who are not cutting corners and busting their asses off everyday in the gym to better themselves. I want to apologize to My head MMA coach Greg Nelson for making him and his gym the Academy look bad. He had no knowledge of me using at all. I want to make the same apology to my S&C coach Matt Miller of Horsepower strength and conditioning, he also had no knowledge of my use of this Anabolic Steroid.

I apologize to all my sponsors that support me, my family that loves me, and my friends and fans that cheer for me. I deserve every bit of backlash and hate I’m going to receive from the media and the fans of this great sport. I take full responsibility in my actions and the decisions I made. I also deserve the punishment the CA state athletic commission brought down upon me.”

Gleison Tibau
Caught: 12/23/15, following his first round submission win over Abel Trujillo at Fight Night 77
Tested positive for: An undisclosed PED and EPO (self-admitted)
Punishment: TBA
In his own words: I’m not used to an easy life. Since I was a kid, I have fought for everything I’ve conquered, I have overcome adversities, and I’m really proud of who I am. I face this doping news as another stone that I have to take out of my way as a professional fighter and a correct citizen. As a responsible man that I am, I never believed I ingested something that could fantasize my performances. I make sure I have a healthy life outside the sport, and honest and clean inside the sport. I train hard, I do my best.

However, I can’t turn my back to a notification from USADA, an institution with credibility and a mission of stopping dirty game, doping. I will talk to my medical staff in the next days to find out where we made a mistake, and will do what we can in my trial. I fight professionally for 16 years, nine being inside the UFC, and was never in this situation. It tastes bad, like a loss inside the cage, but will be a big lesson, as experience to become more alert as an athlete of what can or can’t be done in the sport’s anti-doping policy.

I’m deeply sorry for what happened. I want to apologize to everyone involved, the UFC, American Top Team, my teammates and, of course, Abel Trujillo, who I fought on Nov. 7. I’m willing to give him a rematch, if he agrees. I’ve fought and defeated athletes that failed drug tests, like Polish athlete Piotr Hallman last September, and I know how bad it feels for the opponent.

I can’t forget to apologize to the fans, everyone that always supported me. I’m sure this time won’t be different, as I’m already getting messages and support through social media.

Fighting MMA is what I know to do, what I’ve chosen as a professional, my income. I take full responsibility for my actions, and I believe the justice will punish if needed, but also clear me if proven.

To the media, I thank the opportunity for giving me a voice in this complex moment that I’m living now, the toughest in my career. I trust in God so I can go back in action in my career in an honored way, like I always did.”

Honorable mentions:
– Jeff Monson, for openly admitting past steroid use (even though he was never caught before or after a fight) and suggesting that steroids should be legalized.

– Kevin Randleman, for submitting a urine sample that lacked human hormones, following his submission loss to Mauricio Rua at PRIDE 32 in October 2006. Said NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer: “It was either allegedly non-human urine or urine from a dead human being.” Randleman admitted that he submitted a fake sample because of the large amounts of painkillers and antibiotics he was taking at the time due to a lung infection. He was suspended from competition for one year.

– Josh Burkman, who was scheduled to compete on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter until he tested positive for Stanozolol in a drug screening administered before the show. Burkman received no punishment, and was allowed to be a cast-member on TUF‘s second season.

– Jason Reinhardt, who admitted to using steroids for the majority of his career in a forum thread on

– Dennis Siver, whose UFC 168 drug test came up positive for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a drug typically used post-steroid cycle to restore the size of the testicles and kickstart testosterone production.

– Wanderlei Silva, for fleeing the premises when a sample collector sent by the NSAC showed up at his gym to administer a random drug test in May 2014.

– Chael Sonnen, for testing positive for a pair of estrogen blockers, as well as HGH, EPO, and hCG following a random drug test in May 2014.

– Ali Bagautinov, whose failed a random-drug test for EPO before his decision loss to Demetrious Johnson at UFC 174.

– Cung Le, who tested positive for HGH following his UFC Fight Night 48 loss to Michael Bisping, after trying to convince us that his new action-figure physique was all natural. However, Le’s suspension was eventually lifted when it was determined that the Hong Kong testing lab that the UFC used for Le’s drug screening didn’t know what the hell it was doing.

-Mirko Cro Cop, who admitted to using HGH to repair his shoulder, retired, and was then provisionally suspended by USADA for two years for a positive out-of-competition test which may or may not have been actually positive.

Fun fact: Of the aforementioned fighters who tested positive for steroids after fights* 22 were successful in those fights, while 25 were unsuccessful, and one fought to a draw. So, the jury’s still out on that whole “competitive advantage” thing.

We’re including Thiago Silva in this tally because he admitted to steroid use after being caught, even though he only tested positive for fake pee. 

Steroid busts by year:
’02: 1
’03: 1
’04: 1
’05: 1
’06: 4
’07: 14 (!)
’08: 5
’09: 4
’10: 1
’11: 2
’12: 4
’13: 2
’14: 5
’15: 5

Steroid busts by commission:
NSAC: 15
CSAC: 26
UFC’s independent/international testing: 8

Have we left out any major ‘roid fails? Let us know in the comments section and we’ll update the list…