UFC star Silva not sanctioned for dodging test


No action was taken by the Nevada Athletic Commission against Ultimate Fighting Championship star Wanderlei Silva after an informational hearing Tuesday afternoon.

But that doesn’t mean damning evidence wasn’t presented.

A sample collector laid out a clear and specific timeline of events from May 24 that appeared to confirm the outlandish rumors regarding how Silva skipped out on an unexpected drug test.

While his testimony fell short of the dramatic “Silva ran away” narrative, Jim Guernsey told the commission that Silva did sneak out the back door of his gym.

Attorney Ross Goodman, representing Silva, essentially confirmed the accusations.

After not finding Silva at home, Guernsey headed to the fighter’s gym on Dean Martin Drive. Guernsey indicated he introduced himself to Silva and explained he was there to collect a sample.

“(Silva) walked back to the front counter and then walked past the office toward the back of the gym, then walked around the corner to the right,” Guernsey said. “I casually followed behind him. When I turned around the corner, I realized there was an exit there and a bathroom.

“I didn’t see him anywhere.”

At that time, Guernsey said he realized Silva had left the property. That led to conversations at the gym among Guernsey, NAC executive director Bob Bennett and Silva’s wife, Tea. Silva could not be located, and his wife told them she did not know where he was.

Eventually, Tea Silva assured Bennett they would cooperate. Bennett said they had an hour to submit to the test, but it never happened.

Goodman conceded the facts as they were presented.

“Wanderlei Silva has been fighting for 20 years, has over 50 professional fights and has never failed a drug test,” Goodman told the commission, with the fighter and his wife at his side.

Goodman said Silva was nervous about the medications he was using to treat a wrist injury he suffered while coaching “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil.”

“He was taking diuretics for the sole purpose of minimizing the inflammation, to decrease the water retention,” Goodman said. “He now realizes that he should have submitted to the drug test.”

Goodman added that Silva was caught off guard because it was the first time a collector had showed up at his gym unexpectedly to take a sample.

Diuretics are on the banned substance list largely because of their use in masking the presence of performance-enhancing drugs. The commission probably will have a disciplinary hearing at a future meeting.

Also on Tuesday, the NAC imposed a temporary suspension on UFC light heavyweight Chael Sonnen, who failed an unexpected drug test administered May 24.

Sonnen and Silva were to meet at UFC 175 on July 5 at Mandalay Bay.

Sonnen, 37, announced his retirement last week after the results of his test were reported.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.

 

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