Anderson Silva will be eligible to return to the Octagon in November after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) found that his latest drug test failure was the result of a contaminated supplement, and he feels vindicated. Silva was facing a four-year suspension from the USADA.
Speaking with MMA Fighting on Wednesday, his first interview since the official announcement, Silva discussed the process of dealing with the anti-doping agency, clearing his image after testing positive for methyltestosterone metabolites and hydrochlorothiazide in October 2017 prior to a planned bout with Kelvin Gastelum in Shanghai, China, and his next move in the UFC.
Check the exclusive interview below.
How do you feel now that the USADA has finally proven it was a contained supplement that caused your failed test?
I feel that the most important thing was establishing the truth. The doubt about what really happened was bothering me the most. Some people kept asking me to talk, but I didn’t say absolutely nothing because I wanted the truth to come out. I never needed any type of illegal substance to fight, I’m against that, and thank God the truth was established.
At any point, over the past nine months, did you lose confidence that you would be able to prove your innocence?
No, because I have everything I used. Every supplement, every test. I’ve done a number of doping tests and I had my conscience clear. Thank God everything was solved, and now I can move on and continue (fighting).
Did your previous doping case help you in that sense, because you kept everything you have used in case you had to run tests?
The difference is that this time I was surrounded by a team that was truly professional. Lawyers, an entire medical staff here in the United States. We gave all the information we had to USADA and really cleared this situation, something that didn’t happen in the past. It wasn’t clear before. Anyway, that’s in the past, let’s think ahead now. Everything was cleared, and thank God I will be able to come back as soon as possible.
Junior dos Santos, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Marcos Rogerio de Lima had a similar case with the USADA and proved to be victims of contained supplements and were immediately cleared by the USADA to return, but you still have to serve three months of a suspension. Why is that?
Actually, I had a full clearance now, but we will respect all the conditions that USADA imposed so it stays really clear. Thank God everything was solved. They found where the problem was, I was exempt from guilt, and now I will wait and continue doing what I’m doing, taking care of my personal things, my movie projects, and wait for my return.
Do you fear that some people will still look at you in a different way even though it was proven to be contaminated supplements?
I can’t change people’s opinions. I can go after the truth, like I did, and prove the truth. That’s what I’ve done. Changing people’s opinions, I can’t change that. I have my truth, and that’s what matters to me, to my family, and to everyone around me.
When you had this second failed test, some people stopped considering you in “greatest of all time” discussions. Even though you never put yourself in that position, do you expect to be back in those lists now that you’re cleared?
I can’t say what should or shouldn’t be done. I have my fans in the sport. To me, B.J. (Penn) will continue being the best of all time. He’s someone I admire a lot, I have a huge respect for him. And ‘Minotauro’ (Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira), man. These two guys are super heroes of this sport. I can’t talk about me, it’s hard to talk about yourself. I have my history, my legacy, and will continue doing my job, and who knows, one day, when I stop fighting, I can give you a better answer.
You were scheduled to fight Kelvin Gastelum in Shanghai when you got suspended, and now he’s fighting Robert Whittaker for the middleweight belt. Who do you want to fight in your return?
Man, I’ll just keep training, something I never stopped since this situation started, and wait. I have some fights left in my contract with the UFC. I don’t have any names, no one I would specifically like to fight. I’ll just keep training, stay in shape and wait to come back as fast as possible.
How many fights do you still have in your contact with the UFC?
I believe I still have three fights in my contract.
Before the suspension, you were booked to fight Gastelum in Rio but he got pulled after testing positive for marijuana. Back then, you asked for a fight with Yoel Romero for an interim belt. Would that fight still interest you?
What happened was that they wanted me to fight Yoel Romero, but Romero was No. 1 in the ranking for a title fight, and it would make no sense for Yoel Romero to fight me instead of fighting for the belt. I talked about it, said that it would be right to put Yoel Romero against me for an interim belt since he was the No. 1. But I don’t have anyone in mind for me to fight.
At 43 years of age, do you still feel you have what it takes to get to the belt again?
Man, I’m in great shape, I have what it takes to fight anyone, and now I’ll wait for UFC’s decision. I’ll talk to my team and see what we’ll do. But I don’t have anyone in mind. I’ll wait and see the decisions that will be made.
Are you hoping for a quick return, like when you fought Daniel Cormier on just a few days’ notice, or would you rather have a full camp?
I’ll continue working, with calm and patience. In reality, I took that fight with Cormier to help the UFC. It wasn’t something I did for attention or anything like that. It was something to help the UFC because they had done a huge promotion around that fight and Jon Jones ended up removed from the fight. As a UFC fighter and part of the team — like Lorenzo (Fertitta) has mentioned several times that we’re part of a team and have to help each other — I decided to help them.
Feel free to send a message to those who have followed you and waited for the decision of this case over the past few months.
I would like to thank everyone who has been with me for all these years, in bad and good moments. I will definitely come back and try to give my best, as always, to my fans, family, friends, and the ones who cared about showing the truth. That’s what we worked for over the past few months, to put the truth over the table and make it clear that I’ve never used any illegal substance.