MMATorch Daily Top Five 7/19: Longest Drug Suspensions of UFC Fighters

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

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7/19/16: Five Longest Drug Suspensions of UFC Fighters

With two high profile names in Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar facing lengthy suspensions out of failed drug tests, today’s top five looks at the longest suspensions doled out to date for fighters in the UFC.

5. Nick Diaz (18 Months): Originally given a five year suspension for a questionable finding of marijuana metabolites, Nick Diaz got that reduced to 18 months and will be returning later this year. The failed test came in between two other tests which did not give a positive result, all from the same day, leading his team to fight the Nevada Athletic Commission on there being any failure at all. Taking a fighter’s attempt to defend themselves as an affront, the commission brought down the hammer, only coming around on a settlement after serious backlash to the original decision.

4. Gleison Tibau (Two Years): Gleison Tibau was one of the first fighters to get flagged by USADA, and after proclaiming his innocence on EPO use he opted to accept the two year sanction. That decision came because he felt it would be too expensive and too difficult to fight it in order to get it reduced by only a short amount of time, and as such the longtime UFC lightweight is on the shelf until the end of 2017.

3. Frank Mir (Two Years): Much like Tibau, Mir decided that it wasn’t worth the money and research he’d need to fight his failed test. He believed it to potentially be due to tainted kangaroo meat he’d ingested in Australia earlier this year prior to his March loss to Mark Hunt, and questioned the integrity of the lab doing the testing, but he then decided it would be too much for him to attempt to prove. As such, he’s out for two years, and he’s hoping to get his release from the UFC to pursue other options.

2. Chael Sonnen (Two Years): After years of attempted to obfuscate and defend the use of TRT while throwing around accusations at others, Chael Sonnen was finally caught in two separate drug tests with myriad drugs in his system. He again attempted to talk his way out of things, even getting defended by UFC President Dana White in a completely ill-advised spot on Fox Sports 1 regarding the test failure at the time. Ultimately, the commission even went light on him given what they did to Wanderlei Silva, giving him a two year term while asking him to help their future drug testing efforts. Sonnen’s suspension concludes this summer.

1. Wanderlei Silva (Three Years): The crazy thing about the number one spot on this list is the fact that there’s no failed test involved. Wanderlei Silva skipped town on the Nevada Athletic Commission after they attempted to administer a test on him prior to his scheduled fight with Sonnen. He avoided a sample collector at his gym, then fled. He later admitted he had taken a diuretic that he believed would show up on the test, and the NAC made an example out of him by issuing a lifetime ban. Silva’s camp attempted to argue that they had no jurisdiction over him as he hadn’t officially been licensed yet, a status that’s still being fought in court. He did wind up getting the “lifetime” ban down to a three-year term, which runs through May of 2017. Of course, he’s fighting in Japan in December, so there’s that.

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