Wanderlei Silva sues NSAC seeking reversal of lifetime ban, fine

January 20, 2015

MMA Fighting reports that Wanderlei Silva has filed a lawsuit against the Nevada State Athletic Commission.  Silva claims that the commission overstepped its boundaries in issuing him a lifetime ban last year.

In addition to the ban, the NSAC issued a $70,000 fine this past September.  The punishment arose out of his failure to take a drug test in lead-up to a fight with Chael Sonnen this past July.  As we know, the fight never happened.

“This case encapsulates agency aggrandizement at its worst where disciplinary ation was taken against a non-licensed person,” reads the introduction of Silva’s Complaint filed by Ross Goodman in Clark County, Nevada’ District Court.

Silva’s attorney argues that the NSAC did not have jurisdiction over Silva since he was not licensed in the state of Nevada at the time officials attempted to drug test Silva.  Silva’s attorney claims that the statutes which the NSAC must follow only pertain to a “licensee.”

Silva is looking for the NSAC ruling to be reversed and set aside which could the clear pathway for Silva to fight in Nevada again.

Goodman is familiar with combatting the NSAC.  In April 2012, he sued the NSAC on behalf of Nick Diaz.

W. Silva v. Bennett and NSAC

Court filing via MMA Fighting.

Payout Perspective:

As we indicated in December, the process for appeal of an administrative ruling is usually through filing a lawsuit seeking a “petition for review.” Still, we wonder why Silva is going through this legal process when he could work around the suspension in Nevada and still fight. Silva’s attorney makes an interesting legal argument based on the Nevada statutes which the commission must follow. We will see how the judicial system handles interpretation of these statutes and this case.

Late Holiday Gift? Try Art Davie’s “Is it Legal?”

December 23, 2014

Perhaps a late stocking stuffer or a book to pick up during your down time over the holidays is Art Davie’s book, “Is this Legal?”  Released this past summer, the book chronicles what went behind putting together UFC 1 back in November 1993.

The account details Davie and his path to organizing and promoting the first UFC.  It’s clear that his relationship with the Gracie family helped with the eventual event.  Davie trained with the Gracie family and some of his initial investors came from connections from their school in Southern California.

At a time when there was no Kickstarter or other forms of crowdfunding, it was an interesting look at the obstacles Davie faced and eventually overcame in promoting the event.

Initially brainstormed as “The War of the Worlds,” and then “World’s Best Fighter” as a working title, Davie pitched the idea to fighters, venues to hold the event and networks to air it for public consumption.

Davie did his first research on the event at a public library in Torrance, California.  His passion to establish this grew to a small office in Torrance.  He had compiled a detailed proposal which outlined his vision for the event.   Davie pitched his proposal to ESPN, HBO and Showtime all of which declined the opportunity to air Davie’s vision for a one night tournament to determine who the best fighter was in hand to hand combat.

The book offers candid pictures of the makings of the event including a reproduction of a ticket/room package to go to the event at the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado from $269.  There are also initial sketches of a proposed cage where the fights would take place.  Essentially, this was the birth of the Octagon.

To refresh your memory, Patrick Smith, Ken Shamrock, Zane Frazier, Kevin Rosier, Art Jimmerson, Royce Gracie Gerard Gordeau and Teila Tuli were the fighters competing on the first card.

The PPV, which was priced at $14.95, drew 85,592 buys.  There were 3,997 in attendance with 984 comps.  According to a list at the end of the book, the total fight purse was $102,500.  The winner, Royce Gracie earned $50,000 as the tournament winner and won the $250,000 grand prize.  The runner up Gerard Gordeau, earned $15,000.  Notably, Art Jimmerson (the man with one glove) earned $18,000 (a guaranteed $17,000 plus another $1,000 for making the quarterfinals.  Ken Shamrock earned $4,000.

The Gracies played a big part in this event and Davie’s relationship with the family.  He first assisted in selling their videotapes, “The Basics of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu,” and after he earned a monthly commission check of over $21,000, he decided it was time to pitch to Rorion Gracie his idea for what became UFC 1.

Bellator play-by-play commentator Sean Wheelock assists in this book and “Big” John McCarthy writes the foreward.

On his web site for the book, Davie produced a 6 part series on the creation and evolution of MMA in North America.

Is it Legal is an easy read and if you had an interest on how the first UFC got off the ground, it’s worth a read over the holidays.

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Visit Isthislegalthebook.com for more information or your preferred bookseller to purchase.  It is available in e-book form as well.

Payout Film Review: Warrior

August 31, 2011

I had the opportunity to see a sneak preview of the new mixed martial arts movie, “Warrior,” opening on September 9th. Warrior has everything MMA fans are used to: a high school teacher turned MMA star, a war veteran-turned-fighter, a stoic Russian MMA machine, a mohawked brawler, a seedy manager, a famed trainer and an underdog story.

The story centers around the Conlon family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Eldest brother Brendan is a physics teacher with a wife and two daughters trying to make ends meet. When the bank tells him that it will foreclose on his home in 90 days he turns to fighting in a quasi-toughman contest to earn quick dollars. He is suspended from his job after its learned what he is doing and he must turn to MMA fights full time. Despite his wife’s apprehension, the former UFC fighter convinces her that he is cherry-picking against less skilled fighters and it will be easy money. He regroups with his old MMA coach and is thrown in with a younger, stronger training camp. Brendan eventually adopts and when an opportunity presents itself, he finds himself in a two day MMA tournament in Atlantic City with the winner getting $5 million.

Younger brother Tommy is an Iraq war veteran holding onto a secret from his tour of duty. Looking to rekindle his past as a champion amateur wrestler, Tommy works out a boxing gym where he discovers a group training for the same big tournament in Atlantic City. After Tommy delivers a severe beatdown to the gym’s toughest fighter, he is noticed by an MMA manager who pulls strings to gets him into the tournament. In order to train, Tommy seeks help from his recovering alcoholic father (Nick Nolte) despite his disdain for his father who tore their family apart when he was a kid.

With both brothers making the tournament, there is the prospect that they could meet. Unlike the Klitschko brothers, the Conlon brothers are willing to fight as Tommy feels that Brendan betrayed him as when their father and mother split up, Brendan stayed in Pittsburgh with his father and girlfriend (and eventual wife) instead of moving with him and his mother west.

Similar to “The Fighter” and “The Wrestler,” the combat sport serves as the backdrop for the story’s plot. Warrior is more “The Fighter” than “The Wrestler” as the sport serves as the vehicle for the story.

Fighters Erik Apple, Anthony Johnson and Nate Marquardt make cameos as opponents in the tournament. Kurt Angle plays the movie’s version of Fedor which is ironic since he is a U.S. Olympic gold medalist in wrestling and his pro wrestling character plays up American patriotism.

The movie does a great job in explaining the sport of MMA without hitting the audience in the face with it. Although Warrior embellishes the rules of MMA, the fight scenes are fairly true. Not only do the action sequences feature stand-up game but also show jiu jitsu. Warrior will play well with non-MMA fans as it does not try to shove the sport down the audience’s throat. The movie is subtle in letting the non-MMA fan know that the sport is more than physicality and its participants and fans are intelligent. Brendan, the high school teacher, teaches physics. Also, the school principal is a closet fan who secretly backs Brendan’s moonlighting although its frowned upon by the school.

Tommy (played by Tom Hardy) looks more like pro wrestler Bill Goldberg (trap muscles and all) as he enters the cage, disposes of an opponent and then leaves without any celebration or the referee raising his hand in victory. Nick Nolte is excellent as the fallible alcoholic father trying to make amends after a lifetime of screwups. Brendan (played by Joel Edgerton) is the most complex character of the three as his primary goal is to provide for his family by any means. Yet, he does not know how to deal with Tommy or his father.

In prelude to the premier, MMA Weekly reported that Insight Editions and Lionsgate Films released a coffee table book, “The Men of Warrior.” The book features images and stills of the MMA fighters participating in the movie including Nate Marquardt and Erik Apple. Hopefully we will see more marketing behind the film as its opening approaches. Its not just a mixed martial arts film and hopefully people will not dismiss it because of any negative stereotypes.

Regardless of whether you are a fan of mixed martial arts, “Warrior” is one of the better films of 2011.