[UPDATE]: With Silva out, Michael Bisping has agreed to fight Kelvin Gastelum as the headliner for UFC Fight Night 122 in Shanghai.
Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva has been flagged for a potential doping violation, the promotion has announced. The results stem from an out-of-competition drug screening administered by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency on Oct. 26. With further testing required, Silva has been pulled from his Nov. 25 main event against Kelvin Gastelum.
The UFC states it is currently looking for a replacement opponent for Gastelum, who is set to headline UFC Fight Night 122 in Shanghai.
The company wrote in a statement:
“USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Silva. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.”
This marks the second time in nearly three years that Silva has been flagged for a potential violation, with his first coming back in January 2015. Silva tested positive for a number of performance-enhancing drugs following a one-year hiatus from competition due to a broken leg. He would be forced to spend another year on the sidelines after his first drug testing failure, returning to action against Michael Bisping in February 2016.
Regarded by many as one of the greatest fighters of all time, Silva, now 42, has struggled in his later years. He endured a five-fight winless streak from July 2013 to July 2016, breaking that spell in his most recent outing at UFC 207 in February with a controversial victory over Derek Brunson.
It’s unclear what Silva tested positive for, or how long he could potentially be suspended. But with “The Spider” set to turn 43 in April of next year, it’s entirely plausible that this incident could force him into a relatively early retirement.