The world has been abuzz since it was announced that UFC heavyweight fighter Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva failed his post-fight drug test at UFC Fight Night 33. Silva absolved himself publically by placing the blame on Dr. Marcio Tannure, but the doctor and medical director for Brazil’s regulatory body recently spoke out against the fighter’s accusations.
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
Recent UFC Fight Night 33 opponent Mark Hunt seemed to take Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva’s failed drug test with a sense of humor. The doctor upon whom Silva threw all the blame for his test results – not so much.
Dr. Marcio Tannure, the medical director for Brazil’s Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA, spoke out against Silva’s public accusation toward himself.
“To be clear, I am not, nor have I ever been, Antonio Silva’s medical doctor,” Tannure wrote in a statement emailed to MMAjunkie. “Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva has made some inaccurate statements in the media recently concerning the circumstances leading up to his positive test for an elevated testosterone ratio. I am releasing this statement to clarify the facts related to my limited involvement leading up to his fight with Mark Hunt.”
That fight saw Silva and Hunt battle for five rounds in Brisbane, Australia, at the end of which the judges declared the fight a draw, and both men earned a $50,000 bonus for Fight of the Night performances. Following the release of the drug-screening results, however, the UFC issued Silva a suspension of nine months for testing positive to elevated testosterone levels and his FOTN bonus was awarded to Hunt.
“Approximately seven to ten days prior to the bout, Antonio’s primary care physician and I discussed the fact that, in spite of the TRT, his levels continued to be below the therapeutic level,” Tannure’s statement continued. “His doctor recommended that Antonio increase the frequency of his dosage of testosterone based on his prior levels, and I was asked to communicate that recommendation to Antonio – which I did via email. I also invited Antonio to contact me if he had any questions.
“Antonio’s primary physician and I agreed that his last injection of testosterone was to be taken on Nov. 30, 2013 – one week prior to his fight. I communicated this to Antonio, as well. That was the extent of my involvement in this matter.”
MMAjunkie spoke with a person familiar with Silva’s test results – but who asked for anonymity because details of Silva’s medical records were meant to stay confidential – and that person said that Silva received testosterone propionate, an anabolic steroid that carries a half-life of just four to six days.
The UFC hired Dr. Tannure to help communication between Silva’s doctor and UFC officials, as the UFC took over drug testing in Brisbane as there was no local athletic commission to oversee normal regulations. Tannure served in these duties outside of his role as CABMMA medical director.
While the issue of Testosterone Replacement Therapy has been accepted by many athletic commissions who oversee MMA events, a number of cases similar to this have brought scrutiny on the practice of allowing fighters to artificially raise their testosterone levels. As more details emerge in this case, this will undoubtedly influence how TRT is treated in the future.
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