Dana White was prepared to buy Mark Hunt and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva their own private island. They each received their win bonus and an extra $50,000 for fight of the night for their performance at UFC Fight Night 33. The world was a buzz about the heavyweights and what they did for five rounds in Brisbane. How could they do do it? Mark Hunt performed with true grit and determination. Silva performed with elevated levels of testosterone.
If one big negative memory will stain 2013 for the UFC, it will be the use of testosterone. Ben Rothwell was recently suspended by the UFC following a test showing elevated levels. Vitor Belfort has been swimming in controversy due to his use of testosterone. It’s just not the bigger guys as bantamweight Brian Bowles was handed a suspension following UFC 160.
Should we be surprised that Antonio Silva got popped for elevated levels of testosterone even though he had a therapeutic use exemption? He did serve a year suspension back in 2008 for the use of a banned substance. MMAJunkie.com reports that sources have said prior to the fight doctors advised Silva to increase his dosage of testosterone due to low levels. Why did he have low levels? Maybe because he had abused his body with steroids before? Maybe he really needs them? It doesn’t really matter because now this epic battle will be marked with an asterisk for eternity.
The fact remains that Silva’s levels were beyond that of the allowable range. He will now have a no contest added to his record. He has lost his bonus and has probably lost respect from the MMA fans. Should he have though? We want to see fights like this. We rave about it. So how it came to be that he was able to perform in such a manner should be irrelevant right? It all leaves just a bunch of “what if” scenarios.
For instance, what if Silva had not been on testosterone replacement therapy? Could he compete in the UFC based on what his body can do naturally at this stage in his life? Mark Hunt is powerful and durable at his age without any exemptions for this plague. Would he have knocked out Silva in the first round? These are things we may never know but can debate until at least the next big fighter gets busted right.
Was this fight of the year? Knowing what you know now do you as fan see this as the epic battle that it was or do you see it as a fight where one man had an advantage that kept him in the fight? We would like to hear your take on the issue of TRT and if it even matters. My answer is simply, no. This is not the fight of the year. If Silva had been tested a week prior to the fight or in enough time to have the results in would this fight have even happened and the answer is, no.
Despite the “stain”, one thing that has emerged, not without controversy is the UFC’s policing of drug tests and serving as a de facto commission for certain overseas events. They have even stepped up penalties beyond that of some commissions as in the case of Ben Rothwell who was not issued a suspension by the Wisconsin officials but was by the UFC. Things have changed on how these types of incidents are handled. Several years ago Nate Marquardt was cut from the UFC after it was discovered he had elevated levels of testosterone. What has changed now? We seem to be more tolerant of the issue. Will this even be an issue two years from now? Time will tell.