No Mayra Bueno Silva, USADA has not cleared your UFC drug test failure

Mayra Bueno Silva claimed USADA cleared her after a drug test failure at UFC Vegas 77. That's not true.

By: Trent Reinsmith | 1 month ago
No Mayra Bueno Silva, USADA has not cleared your UFC drug test failure
IMAGO/ZUMA Wire/Diego Ribas

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Mayra Bueno Silva got popped by USADA

In July, Mayra Bueno Silva picked up the biggest win of her UFC career when she submitted former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm. The second-round stoppage earned the 32-year-old Brazilian a “Performance of the Night” bonus and moved her from No. 10 in the official UFC rankings in the weight division to No. 3. A little more than a month after her win, Silva announced that she had failed a drug test related to the July 15 matchup.

Silva wrote on Instagram that she tested positive for a substance “consistent with the prescription medication I take for my ADHD.” The UFC fighter added that she is cooperating with the Nevada Athletic Commission (NSAC), which oversaw the bout, the UFC, and the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which oversees the UFC drug testing program.

Silva then spoke to MMA Fighting about the failed drug test, saying that she stopped taking the medication on Monday of fight week, “I’ve done this a lot of times, and then this time, I don’t know what happened. I stopped on the Monday. This medication, it’s not doping, but I can take this out of competition, and I always stop on the Monday. I don’t know what has happened.”

Silva did not say if she had applied for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for the medication, which is part of the USADA drug testing policy.

The highly ranked bantamweight then added that she had spoken to UFC Senior Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance, Jeff Novitzky, and USADA. According to Silva, both told her, “Everything is going to be okay.”

It should be noted that USADA handles all aspects of the UFC drug testing policy, and Novitzky nor the UFC are directly involved in that process. 

Here’s what USADA had to say about this

I reached out to USADA to get clarification on Silva’s statement that the organization had cleared her or told her everything would be okay.

USADA’s email statement fell short of clearing the UFC fighter of wrongdoing:

“We can confirm that USADA has been notified by a WADA-accredited laboratory that Mayra Bueno Silva’s sample collected on July 15, during the in-competition period, returned an adverse analytical finding.

“With all cases, the UFC ADP provides full due process including the right to a B-sample analysis and a hearing in front of an independent arbitrator before any sanction is imposed. All athletes are innocent unless and until proven to have committed a violation of the rules through the established process.

“We are appreciative of Ms. Bueno Silva’s cooperation in this matter, and we will work thoroughly to uncover the facts. Per Ms. Bueno Silva’s social media post, we encourage all athletes with a diagnosed medical condition to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), which would allow an athlete to compete without risk to their health and safety by stopping the use of needed medication. For more information, UFC athletes can visit our dedicated TUE page here:”

From this statement, it seems as if USADA is taking an innocent until proven guilty approach to Silva’s positive test, but that it is going through the same process it has gone through for every other fighter who has tested positive on their A-sample.

As for the Nevada Athletic Commission, which Silva seemed much more worried about than USADA, telling MMA Fighting, “I have no confidence [they’ll clear me], but I hope that they say that everything is okay for me,” it extended her suspension.

According to John Morgan, “NSAC has extended the temporary suspension of Mayra Bueno Silva for her July 15 drug screen, which was positive for ritalinic acid, and the resolution will come at a later date.”

USADA did not reveal a timeline for its investigation or testing process.

Ritalinic Acid is the primary metabolite of methylphenidate, which is sold under the brand names Concerta and Ritalin.

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Trent Reinsmith
Trent Reinsmith

Trent Reinsmith is a freelance writer based out of Baltimore, MD. He has been covering sports for more than 15 years, with a focus on MMA for most of that time. Trent focuses on the day-to-day business of MMA — both inside and outside the cage — for Bloody Elbow.

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