W Silva wins reversal and remand of NSAC ban, fine

May 18, 2015

ESPN.com reports that a Nevada state district court judge has reversed and remanded the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s lifetime ban and $70,000 fine issued against Wanderlei Silva last year.  Judge Kerry L. Earley determined that while the NSAC had jurisdiction over Silva, the punishment was “arbitrary, capricious and not supported by substantial evidence.”

Judge Earley’s decision orders a new hearing by the commission to find a proper punishment for Silva’s violation of evading a random drug test in lead-up to his fight against Chael Sonnen at UFC 175.

The court indicated that a decision would be handed out by May 11th but the decision came a week later.

According to the ruling (as reported by ESPN, we will attempt obtain a copy), the court agreed with the NSAC’s argument that it had jurisdiction over Silva but not with the method the commission determined the penalty. If you watched the commission hearing, you may recall that there was an ad hoc moment where the commission determined a penalty based on what they knew of Silva’s pay.

Silva’s attorney, Ross Goodman, applauded the reversal of the suspension and the re-hearing but may consider an appeal of the ruling with respect to jurisdiction.

As a quick procedural background as to how the decision made its way to state superior court, as in many jurisdictions, the process for appeal of an administrative decision is to the state court.

Payout Perspective:

While I believed that the court may have found jurisdiction, Goodman’s potential appeal may not be as far-fetched as you might think.  The ruling means that we should see the commission re-evaluate Silva’s penalty.  It’s unlikely it will be able to impose the recommended guidelines it passed last Friday although one might surmise the commission will have this in the back of their minds.  Ironically, the NSAC discussed not wanting its decision to be overturned at the hearing (and cited in Silva’s petition for judicial review) for being “outside of the norm” of what the commission has done in the past.  It looks like the court has found it did overreach with its penalty.

2 Responses to “W Silva wins reversal and remand of NSAC ban, fine”

  1. Logical on May 18th, 2015 12:25 PM

    Good, the NSAC has a tendency to overstep its bounds and it’s about time it got a kick in the pants.

    Could they really impose the new recommended guidelines? And if they did, what would it be for… Diuretics? They don’t have a positive test for anything, just Wanderlei Silva’s admission as his reasoning for avoiding the test. Did they establish new guidelines for people avoiding a test?

    I am surprised the court sided with the commission on jurisdiction, wouldn’t you need to have said fighter under license or in the application process to put him under your jurisdiction?

  2. Jason Cruz on May 18th, 2015 3:46 PM

    @Logical – I doubt that they impose the new guidelines. It would almost invite another appeal. As far as the jurisdiction goes, I’d have to take a look at the actual rationale by the court in its decision to figure out how it explains itself. Sounds like it went with the argument that the commission oversees all combat sports within the state which is a broad interpretation.

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