Anderson Silva is facing what will potentially be his second ban in less than three years following a failed USADA test which saw him pulled from this weekend’s UFC Shanghai headline bout
His opponent, Kelvin Gastelum, will now face Michael Bisping. Bisping, of course, earned a very important yet controversial win over Silva on his way to bagging a title shot against Luke Rockhold in 2016 which he won.
Silva surprisingly lost that title to Chris Weidman in 2013 and was unfortunate to suffer a leg-break in the rematch. His comeback bout against Nick Diaz was initially awarded to Silva as a win prior to the first failed drug test which saw him receive a moderate suspension in contrast to Diaz, who was slapped with a five-year penalty.
“The Spider” has a paltry record of 1-4-1 NC in his last six fights, which represented a drastic downturn in fortunes considering he had embarked on a 17 fight win-streak prior to his first bout against Weidman. While age may be a factor in his decline, many believe that it is hard to completely rule out the possibility that the Brazilian’s amazing record may be, in some way, attributed to performance-enhancing drugs.
Former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo believes that Silva may have ‘dirtied’ his career in the eyes of many, especially Brazilian fans if he receives a second suspension from USADA:
“It’s hard to say what happened,” Aldo said when asked about Silva’s recent suspension (via MMAFighting). “He’s an icon of the sport, he’s an idol for me and for MMA fans. Man, I don’t know, I can’t say much about it because I don’t know what happened.
“But with Junior ‘Cigano,’ no,” he continued. “Junior ‘Cigano’ and I have the same doctor, we come from the same lineage, so I don’t believe he took anything that enhances the performance or something like that. I think he’s more innocent than guilty.
“And I don’t know what happened with ‘Minotouro.’ I think athletes today make the mistake of trying to self-medicate sometimes without asking their own doctors, and that can hurt you. USADA and WADA change a lot the components that are doping, we receive e-mails all the time saying what is and what is not, but sometimes you make a mistake and it happens.”
“Scarface” believes that there is an understandable level of scrutiny currently surrounding Silva’s legacy:
“I think many fans and MMA journalists today say that Anderson was the champion he was because he doped,” Aldo said. “That’s a problem, that dirties his career. I make sure I take precautions, I do exactly what has to be done. Before I start a camp, I e-mail WADA and USADA saying what I will take, and we start the camp when they say it’s ok. I think this is a precaution that every athlete should take because you’re subject to this.
“Like I said, he’s an idol for us, but fans have a different image of him after he got caught twice. If it was only one we could say something, but twice can convict him. I think it hurts him, dirties his career, which for me was one of the best.”
This latest sentiment certainly represents a stark change in opinion for Aldo, who had previously claimed that Silva was “more innocent than guilty”. The Brazilian, who will fight for the chance to become a three-time world champion against Max Holloway at UFC 218 next month, told FloCombat recently that Silva was not to be judged until all facts were known:
“I’m very careful. It’s a whole career, and a lot of fans and journalists now say that Anderson was not a champion because he has always been a guy who cheated. Whether or not it will [tarnish Silva’s legacy in the long run], he’s an idol for us. But in the eyes of the fans, after being caught twice, I think that could condemn and devalue his career, which, for me, was one of the best.”
Aldo indicated at the time that Silva may be ‘innocent’:
“He’s much more innocent than guilty, but we have to wait. [The same goes for Nogueira], fighters sometimes [injure themselves] and want to medicate themselves without consulting a doctor. In addition, USADA changes the substances that are considered doping a lot.”
With Jon Jones also failing a USADA test in conjunction with his UFC 214 light heavyweight title victory over Daniel Cormier, Georges St-Pierre’s victory over Michael Bisping to enter the ranks of two-weight world champions appears to be enough for most to consider him the greatest fighter of all time.