Court to determine Wanderlei Silva fate in Nevada by May 11th

April 22, 2015

After extensive oral argument on Wednesday, a Clark County District Court will issue a ruling on or before May 11th as to whether it will uphold a lifetime ban issued by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Wanderlei Silva.

Judge Kerry Earley heard oral arguments from Silva’s attorney Ross Goodman and Nevada Deputy Attorney General Chris Eccles arguing on behalf of the NSAC.  The petition for review was filed by Goodman on behalf of Silva who was not in attendance at Wednesday’s hearing.  It essentially appeals the NSAC ban and fine of Silva stemming from his evading a drug test in lead-up to UFC 175.

MMA Junkie’s John Morgan, who attended and tweeted the proceedings, reported that the primary question was whether the NSAC was correct to order Silva to submit to a drug test “out of competition” although he was not licensed by the state at the time.

As maintained by Goodman in his pleadings and oral argument, the NSAC does not have jurisdiction over a fighter not licensed in the state.  Therefore, it had no power to suspend or punish.

Eccles argued that Silva took part in a news conference promoting the event and was thus “an unarmed combatant and contestant who was contracted to appear in the state as such.”

While the question of the severity of the suspension was discussed, it appears that the primary issue is that of jurisdiction.

Judge Earley indicated that she wanted more time to review the relevant statutes and regulations prior to issuance of a ruling.

Payout Perspective:

As always, the issue of jurisdiction must be determined first prior to discussing the substantive merits.  This could be a case where the Court knows a wrong has occurred and wants to make sure that the right result is made.  But, how do you do it when the law is not in your favor.  The relevant statutes appear to favor Silva’s argument but the NSAC makes an artful (and maybe persuasive) argument that the law should be interpreted broadly to include Silva within the jurisdiction of Nevada.  We shall see what the Court does on May 11th.

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