Wanderlei Silva, the legendary “Axe Murderer” who slashed his way to 35 wins in a MMA career from 1996 to 2013, continued his attacks on the UFC in an interview today.
In the past, MMA fans have sympathized with many of Silva’s complaints, which range from fighter pay to the treatment of champions like Jose Aldo.
But this time, the Curitiba, Brazil native, who now lives in Las Vegas, took aim at a different target — one which may not find as much sympathy among his fan base.
The promotion’s practice of out-of-competition drug testing, where athletes are tested at random throughout the year, was described by Silva as “against the Constitution.”
“If I’m going to fight you today, I have to be clean today,” Silva said to Guilherme Cruz of MMA Fighting. “There are anti-inflammatories and painkillers that are considered doping, but are not. I’m against steroids. Steroids are bad. But the fighter has a right to do anything he wants out of competition. That’s his right. You can’t get into his life and take his blood to see what he’s doing. I’m against all types of drugs and steroids, but the athlete has the right to have a private life. He has to be clean on the day of the competition. Out of competition, that’s his life.”
Drug testing has long been a point of contention in MMA, with differing practices over the years by different organizations. But testing athletes out of competition is perceived as vital to keeping illegal performance enhancing drugs out of the sport — to stop the practice of “cycling off” PED’s in time for a pre-fight drug test. The UFC began the practice, which is commonplace in other sports, in a limited capacity; resulting in a failure rate around 30%. This year, they announced that they will begin testing all athletes at random throughout the year.
Silva has been banned for life by the Nevada Athletic Commission for avoiding a random drug test which took place last year. He maintains that he did not have a license to fight in Nevada at the time and officials had no right to test him.