good article if arguments made are true http://mmarated.com/blogs/blog/2008...l;jsessionid=91980039FAD63DDB72D2D16F2747E79C The way I see it, there are two possible answers to this question: The California State Athletic Commission is either really, really good at its job, or something is very wrong with the way this particular sanctioning body is testing for performance enhancing drugs. Whatever the reason, high-profile fighters keep getting popped for banned substances in the Golden State. EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and his manager announced this week that they’ll appeal his recent one-year suspension and $2,500 fine for a positive test for the drug boldenone following his victory over Justin Eilers on July 26 in Stockton, CA, at the promotion’s “Unfinished Business” event. Silva is not alone. His disputed results coincide with a positive test by Affliction’s Edwin Dewees and come on the heels of a lengthy appeals process by former UFC lightweight champ Sean Sherk after he failed a test in the state last year. Though ultimately unsuccessful, Sherk’s challenge raised doubts about the CSAC’s testing process. The Minnesota native was found to have elevated levels of the naturally occurring substance Nandrolone after his title defense against Hermes Franca at UFC 73 in Sacramento. In the wake of the test, Sherk did everything legally possible to try to prove his innocence. He charged that the CSAC’s laboratory of choice – Quest Diagnostics – mishandled his urine sample. He took and passed numerous other drug tests and even aced a non-admissible polygraph exam in the ensuing weeks. For their part, the athletic commission didn’t exactly act innocent (or competent) during Sherk’s protest. Numerous times they put off his appeals hearings, repeatedly claiming they had not fully reviewed documents filed by Sherk’s lawyer and once – hilariously – saying they couldn’t find a conference room in which to meet with him. In the end, the CSAC wouldn’t fess up to screwing up the test, but reduced Sherk’s suspension by half. By some observers – understanding that for a state athletic commission to admit it had suspended a fighter over a false-positive would be administrative suicide – the move was seen as a concession to Sherk’s appeal. Nonetheless, Sherk’s reputation suffered greatly. Based largely on the fact that he fails the steroid “eye test,” he’s still known as cheater to many fans. For what it’s worth, Sherk has said he’ll never fight in California again. Silva might have an even tougher time making his case. Boldenone, which is not naturally produced inside a human’s body, is the same heavy-duty horse steroids (sometimes known by the brand name Equipose) previously linked to the positive tests of fighters like Stephan Bonnar, Josh Barnett, Kit Cope and Phil Baroni. But Silva and his manager, Alex Davis, contend that a preexisting medical condition makes it impossible for the fighter to have taken steroids and that doing so would be to put his life in jeopardy. EliteXC is also standing behind their champ, with head of fight operations Jeremy Lappen releasing a statement saying the company would “support, trust and have confidence in our fighter, Antonio Silva, who has denied ever taking any illegal substance, including steroids, and is prepared to challenge the results of the California Commission.” Now, I firmly believe that drug abuse is an epidemic in mixed martial arts. If we knew the true percentages of athletes using steroids, human growth hormone or abusing painkillers we’d probably be shocked. But until a reliable test for HGH is adopted by the state athletic commissions, we’ll never know for sure. That said, Silva and Sherk both continue to insist they are innocent of any wrongdoing. Call me naïve, but in these two cases, I’m inclined to believe the fighters.