MMA Drug Suspensions

November 15, 2023
4 months

What’s going on in the world of MMA? You might ask. MMA Breaking News tells us that the Nevada State Athletic Commission has suspended three talented MMA fighters for using banned substances. Mayra Bueno Silva has been banned until the 29th of November, while Daniel Rodriguez is taking a six-month suspension. 

Walt Harris is out for a year. Rodriguez and Harris tested positive in out-of-competition testing, so the NSAC did not financially penalize them. Drug violations are nothing new in MMA or sports, but with the recent violations, it’s worth digging deeper, looking at the drugs involved, and speculating on what’s next. So hang tight while we enter the deep and dingy world of MMA doping.

Mayra Bueno Silva – Suspended for Ritalin Use

Mayra Bueno Silva was suspended and fined by the NSAC (Nevada State Athletic Commission) for using Ritalin. Ritalin is a drug in the classified category of methylphenidate and is widely used along with Dexedrine, a dextroamphetamine, and Adderall, a dextroamphetamine-amphetamine, to control attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

Bueno Silva, 32, is eligible to compete in November because suspensions are retrospective from the sample collection date. The NSAC fined her $11,250, which is 15% of her purse because she was competing at the time of the test.

You might ask why Ritalin could be considered an enhancement and used to produce an edge over her opponent because Ritalin taken by those without ADHD is a sedative and can cause the recipient to disconnect. 

For many years, a diagnosis of ADHD was a controversial problem in sports, as participants with this disorder often used banned stimulants while competing. Recently, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) created guidelines that other governing bodies in competitive sports can use to develop regulations that limit but do not exclude the use of stimulant medications such as Ritalin to treat ADHD. 

Stimulant medications are considered an ADHD “medical best practice treatment” that requires athletes to file a therapeutic use exemption (TUE). A TUE gives athletes with medical diagnoses an exemption to use a drug normally prohibited to treat legitimately diagnosed medical conditions. 

In a recent Instagram post, Silva said (concisely paraphrased), “I am happy that the NSAC understood the battles of mental health. With this agreement, they have acknowledged I was in no way, shape, or form looking for a competitive advantage with the medication I take for my ADHD.” See MMA Latest Updates to discover what’s next for Mayra Bueno Silva.

Walt Harris – Suspended for Synthetic Steroid Use

Anabolic steroids have long been banned in sports, so even taking them in your off-season is a big no. Heavyweight boxing news tells us that MMA fighter Harris has accepted a one-year suspension for using the steroid drostanolone. 

Drostanolone (also known as dromostanolone) is a synthetic androgenic anabolic steroid that mimics testosterone and is generally used in the combined treatment of postmenopausal women with recurrent breast cancer.

Taking drostanolone inhibits estrogen, and while men have minor amounts of estrogen, this particular steroid is on the banned list for women, and now it seems men. Harris can get back in the Ring in June 2024.

Daniel Rodrigues – Suspended for Steroid Use

Daniel Rodriguez (UFC welterweight) was suspended in June for six months and will be eligible to fight again at the end of January 2024. Rodriguez tested positive for the banned substances ostarine and LGD-4033. Sports people shouldn’t but do use ostarine for athletic performance. 

GTx, Inc. originally developed ostarine to support those with involuntary weight loss due to illness, including breast cancer. Bodybuilders use ostarine to protect lean muscle mass from loss, but much like drostanolone, the emphasis for use is on women, not men. 

Rodriguez also took ligandrol – LGD-4033, a drug used to treat muscle waste, osteoporosis, and other musculoskeletal degenerative conditions (MDC). LGD-4033 has the reputation of being a potent, selective androgen receptor modulator available for those with MDC.

Drug Suspensions and Bans in Other Sports

Drug use in sports isn’t new; performance-enhancing drugs are still commonplace. Despite all the checks and balances, athletes, not just MMA stars, have been found guilty of abuse – look at cycling’s Lance Armstrong and his 2009 comeback effort through confessed use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Basketball is not immune – how about Wilson Chandler (Brooklyn Nets), who tested positive for Ipamorelin in 2019, or DeAndre Ayton (Portland Trail Blazers), who tested positive for using a diuretic, while John Collins (Atlanta Hawks) tested positive for Peptide-2, a synthetic drug growth hormone stimulating drug found to increase appetite and food intake.

Their drug use suspension without pay was for 25 games because they violated the NBA/National Basketball Player Association (NBPA) anti-drug use program. While DeAndre Ayton is playing the current season, Wilson Chandler is no longer active (this may be because he is 36), and John Collins is in the pick this season as an active member of the Utah Jazz. 

Proving that according to the Best MMA News Site, not all careers end because of a suspension or ban, no matter how long or how serious the offense is.

According to The Bleacher Report, Tim Sylvia, an undefeated heavyweight who held the UFC championship, tested positive for stanozolol. Stanozolol is a synthetic anabolic and androgenic steroid derived from testosterone used to promote lean muscle growth, strength, and a better body composition.

The NSCA gave Sylvia a fine of $10,000 and a six-month suspension. At the time, Sylvia said remorsefully, “I got stripped of my world title.” Leaving no doubt that Sylvia’s failed drug test damaged his career.

Someone may have badly advised Walt Harris, Daniel Rodrigues, and Mayra Bueno Silva, or they decided to take a chance, but as another Silva – Thiago Silva, found out to his cost trying to fob off the NSAC with horse urine (allegedly) is never going to work. 

Thiago Silva admitted he injected steroids 30-45 days before a big fight to recover from a back injury. The debacle ended up costing him $33,750 in fines and a one-year suspension – to make matters worse, the victory over Brandon Vera was ruled no contest.

As Nancy Regan said in 1983 – “Just Say No Kids!” That might be easier said than done for Harris, Rodrigues, and Mayra Bueno Silva, but only time will tell.

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