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Rich Franklin: Anderson Silva has become the Lance Armstrong of UFC

Hopefully he doesn't give himself cancer.

Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion Anderson Silva failed his UFC 183 drug test for steroids -- among other things -- and has been temporarily suspended by Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) pending a disciplinary hearing.

As for his reputation?

That may go up in smoke, along with his unanimous decision win over Nick Diaz. That's because "The Spider" may have a difficult time convincing fans that his recent bust for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) was an isolated incident.

The man he stripped of the 185-pound title, Rich Franklin, breaks it down for Submission Radio:

"I mean I feel bad for him, honestly. Anderson's had this long run and then of course when something like this happens the fans are going to start asking 'well how long has he been on this stuff?' And for him to have such a run the way that he did and to come back from an injury the way that he did, it's just, it's a shame to think that that is going to tarnish his reputation. Like, that that's what he'll leave his career on. Even if he doesn't leave now, that's the overriding factor that's going to be remembered. Much like Lance Armstrong. He won all those Tour De France's, but as soon as he tested positive for PED's, that's what people remember; is all that stuff and you tend to forget the accomplishments that the guy had, and so I feel bad for him in that sense. And then you start wondering things like 'well how long was he on that?' Like because there are guys in this sport, they know how to play the system, they know how to take their chemicals and beat the test somehow. And I don't know how. I don't know how they do it, like with masking agents and I'm not saying that that's the case with Anderson, but if people are going to start questioning that and wondering that, and it's honestly, my heart bleeds for the guy man."

Silva has denied any wrongdoing.

There's no question the Brazilian had a long and painful journey back to the Octagon after snapping his leg in half in late 2013. The question is, did the "Spider" camp aid his recovery with special supplements designed to get him back into fighting shape ahead of schedule?

Lots to unpack as this case heads back to NSAC later this month.

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