James “Sandman” Irvin accepted the challenge when the UFC decided to give middleweight champion Anderson Silva a go at light-heavyweight in July 2008. Silva knocked him out brutally in 61 seconds, 25 stitches on his face . Two weeks later Irvin was told he had tested positive for two unapproved painkillers: methadone and oxymorphone. Irvin was suspended for nine months and fined US$7,500.
Irvin, who hasn't fought in the 20 months since because of the suspension and knee injuries, returns to the cage Sunday when he takes on middleweight Alessio Sakara at UFC Live in Broomfield, Colo.
"I needed to get caught," he said. "I needed to get in trouble for it and wake me up and get off of those things."
“The only way I can turn it from a negative to a positive is to share with people, to make it up to the people that I've let down, to show people I'm not going to do it again and that I'm a new person. And these people taking a second chance on me, I'm not going to let any of them down."
"I'm trying to get to fighters, but it's kind of a taboo thing. I don't think fighters want to talk about it. Fighters definitely don't want to admit that they have a problem with it when it's obvious they do because more and more fighters are getting caught with the stuff and getting caught with it in them."
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