EliteXC is having a rough couple of weeks. They are losing millions, canceling events, can't track down KJ Noons, and now their Heavyweight Champion tests positive for steroids. The California State Athletic Commission announced today Antonio "Big Foot" Silva tested positive for Boldenone, which is an anabolic steroid primarily administered to horses. It has been used illegally by other athletes, including MMA fighters Stephan Bonnar and Alexandre Nogueira.
Silva will face a $2,500 fine and be suspended for 12 months. The reality of steroids and other banned substances is many athletes use them to recover from injuries. Silva did have a knee injury in the past year and it is certainly possible he took Boldenone while recovering.
I hope the MMA promotions begin taking a hard look at the health of their fighters. The way things work for fighters is they are paid as independent contractors, which means you fight then you get paid for that fight. It gives fighters an incentive to get back into the ring as quickly as possible. Maybe the solution is a new payment system. Lets say a fighter is signed to a three fight deal with one of the major promotions. Why not take a portion of the three fight salaries and give it to the fighter over the length of the contract. This would allow fighters to essentially be paid a monthly salary. While I do not think it will eliminate every case of steroid use, I do think it might give some fighters an incentive to recover from their injuries at a normal rate.