The news former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva allegedly tested positive for steroids sent shockwaves throughout the mixed martial arts community.
Count UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie among the shocked.
“I was surprised,” said Gracie, now an ambassador for Bellator who will be in Fresno for the Bellator 133 card Friday at Save Mart Center. “I was very surprised.”
Silva, the 39-year-old Brazilian considered the greatest mixed martial artist in the young sport’s history, tested positive for Drostanolone metabolites and another steroid in an out-of-competition test Jan. 9. Nick Diaz, his opponent at UFC 183 on Jan. 31, also tested positive for elevated levels of marijuana metabolites, according to results released by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
Silva was making his return to UFC following a leg injury in 2013 and earned a unanimous decision against Diaz.
Gracie, who said he’s friends with his fellow Brazilian, said he finds Silva’s results “hard to believe.”
“It was probably some kind of medicine to deal with his leg that probably affected his results,” Gracie said. “He’s been fighting for so long and never did anything. … But, hey, anything is possible.”
Gracie also allegedly tested positive for steroids substances in 2007 but to this day denies taking any supplements.
“I’m on the same weight for the last 23 years,” said Gracie, who paid a $2,500 fine to the California State Athletic Commission. “I don’t gain; I don’t lose. I’m still the same weight.”
Gracie said it’s important to not confuse fighters who work hard with ones doing performance-enhancing drugs.
“One person does it, doesn’t mean everybody is doing it,” he said.
Chris Honeycutt of Edinboro, Pa., who fights out Dethrone Base Camp in Fresno and is on the Bellator card Friday, said fighters need to be clean before bouts.
“If anyone does do it, I’m sure they keep it on the down low,” said Honeycutt, who’s 5-0 and will face Clayton MacFarlane (4-0) in a welterweight fight.
“I don’t think many other fighters do. Some people get caught up in it. If you’re out and you’re hurt and you’re at that age where you need it to heal, so be it. When it comes time to fight, you need to have it out of your system. It is an enhancer and it’s cheating if it’s in your system. A weapon is a weapon. I think it was (former UFC welterweight champion) Georges St. Pierre who made the comment it’s a weapon. It’s like I have a knife in my hand. It needs to be out of your system so it’s not an advantage.”
Gracie added that all fighters are ambassadors for their sport and should take that role seriously.
“Fighters are examples to the kids,” Gracie said. “There are a lot of kids that look up to them. What they do outside of the cage affects other people.”