Dr. Tannure responds to 'Bigfoot' Silva's lawsuit threats following botched TRT usage

Bradley Kanaris

Dr. Marcio Tannure explains his involvement with Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva's blame and lawsuit threats after failing his UFC Fight Night 33 test for elevated testosterone.

Antionio Silva is one of the few fighters with an easy to believe reason to need to be on Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). Silva has acromegaly, a syndrome which does have a known association with low testosterone.

The controversial practice of TRT in professional fighting came back to bite Silva, however, when he tested positive for elevated testosterone levels following his thrilling draw with Mark Hunt at UFC Fight Night 33. The failed test led to Silva losing the draw off his record and losing his Fight of the Night bonus from the UFC.

Silva quickly took to Facebook and media outlets to blame his medical team. In specific, Silva's anger seems directed at Dr. Marcio Tannure. Tannure is the medical director for Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA and also functions in a limited capacity as a go between for the UFC, the Comissao and regional doctors.

On his Facebook page, Silva posted:

Clarification: Months before my fight I looked for the UFC doctor Marcio Tannure in Brazil so I could start the hormonal replacement "TRT" which was authorized and recognized by a professional. I started the treatment and 2 weeks before my fight I did all the exams required by the UFC. My testosterone level continued to be low so I was recommended by the doctor to increase the dosage. Unfortunately my level increased too much and caused me to suspend. I only did what was recommended by someone trained who understands about the subject therefore it was not my mistake. I'm cool because I know that the mistake was not made by me,I never tried doing anything wrong for my fight.

Silva then spoke to MMA Fighting and declared his intention to sue Dr. Tannure:

"I took a shot at the same day he sent me that e-mail, and he asked me if I had another one to take with me to Australia, to take on fight week," he said. "He authorized everything. I did exactly as I was informed to do.

"You go get help with a doctor, you do the right thing, and now this story tarnishes my professional career," he continued. "It tarnishes the great fight I did with Mark Hunt, and gave me a huge financial loss. The doctor knows that I cut weight, he knows how the body of a MMA fighter reacts. He should know at what level I would be with one shot. I felt like a lab rat. I did everything I was told to do and now I’m the cheater."

...

"I want to prove that it was not my fault. When I have all the exams from both doctors, I want to sue (Dr. Tannure) for the moral and financial prejudice that he has caused me."

Silva had even provided e-mails from Dr. Tannure which read "Your levels are still low. You can start taking one shot per week. Let's see how that will look on the next test. Contact me if you have questions."

Dr. Tannure is now speaking out to address what he considers to be inaccurate statements from the UFC heavyweight (via MMA Junkie):

"To be clear, I am not, nor have I ever been, Antonio Silva’s medical doctor," Tannure stated.

"Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva has made some inaccurate statements in the media recently concerning the circumstances leading up to his positive test for an elevated testosterone ratio," Tannure wrote in a statement emailed to MMAjunkie. "I am releasing this statement to clarify the facts related to my limited involvement leading up to his fight with Mark Hunt."

...

"Approximately seven to 10 days prior to the bout, Antonio’s primary care physician and I discussed the fact that, in spite of the TRT, his levels continued to be below the therapeutic level," Tannure stated. "His doctor recommended that Antonio increase the frequency of his dosage of testosterone based on his prior levels, and I was asked to communicate that recommendation to Antonio – which I did via email. I also invited Antonio to contact me if he had any questions.

"Antonio’s primary physician and I agreed that his last injection of testosterone was to be taken on Nov. 30, 2013 – one week prior to his fight. I communicated this to Antonio, as well. That was the extent of my involvement in this matter."

It does seem that Silva would have an awful hard time suing a Tannure for the situation. TRT isn't an exact science (one of the issues with it) and an e-mail saying to do another injection isn't really grounds for a lawsuit. But it would seem that the more parties involved in monitoring a situation like this, the more room for error.

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