A failed drug test by former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva in 2015 was partly responsible for the organization’s creation of a comprehensive year-round drug testing program.
Now Silva has been flagged for a potential violation of the UFC’s anti-doping program by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
An out-of-competition sample collected Oct. 26 was flagged for an adverse result. USADA will handle the adjudication process, but Silva has been provisionally suspended and pulled from his Nov. 25 bout against Kelvin Gastelum in Shanghai.
“Under the UFC anti-doping policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed,” a statement from the organization read. “Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.”
No further details were provided on the source of the positive test.
UFC officials are seeking a replacement opponent for Gastelum for the UFC Fight Night 122 card, the first the organization will hold on China’s mainland.
Silva’s previous failed test was in January 2015 for a steroid. That test was conducted by the Nevada Athletic Commission after a UFC 183 win over Nick Diaz and drew Silva a one-year suspension after he presented an argument to the NAC that the positive test was the result of a tainted sexual-enhancement pill.
UFC officials announced the enactment of a year-round testing program, overseen by USADA, a short time later. At the time, Silva’s case was cited among others as indicative of a need to step up testing protocols.
USADA could take Silva’s prior transgression into account in the sanctioning process, even though the program had not been created at the time.
Silva, 42, was the UFC middleweight champion from 2006 to 2013.