Wanderlei Silva has become the Lance Armstrong – at least in terms of punishment – of the mixed martial arts world. Much like Armstrong, a professional cyclist, was handed a lifetime ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Silva was suspended for life by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
Armstrong, of course, has a long history of doping, which he has now admitted to. Silva, on the other hand, was banned for evading a drug test and later revealing he had been taking a banned substance in aiding his recovery from an injury.
Regardless, the outcome is the same: Wanderlei Silva has been banned for life.
He doesn’t accept the NAC’s ruling as gospel, however, and intends to fight the outcome, although he doesn’t intend to ever compete in the cage again.
Silva and his attorney, Ross Goodman, had filed a Motion to Dismiss Nevada’s Complaint for Disciplinary Action against him, citing a lack of jurisdiction by the NAC. That motion fell on deaf ears, leading to the commission taking action against Silva in the form of the ban and a $70,000 fine.
The action stems from Silva having fled from an athletic commission official’s attempt to collect samples from him for a random drug test after Silva had agreed to fight Chael Sonnen on at UFC 175 on July 5.
Both he and Sonnen were sought by an athletic commission representative on May 24 to submit to a random drug test as part of the commission’s efforts to curb performance enhancing substance use in combat sports.
Silva appeared before the athletic commission in June, where he admitted evading the representative that appeared at his gym, while also admitting that he had been on diuretics, which are prohibited substances, at the time that he evaded the test.
The NAC had been planning on holding a disciplinary hearing at a subsequent meeting, but they received the Motion to Dismiss, which delayed the commission taking action in order to assess the motion.
In the motion, a copy of which was obtained by MMAWeekly.com, Goodman claimed that because Silva did not have an active license in Nevada and no bout agreement had yet been signed, he was not under the commission’s jurisdiction and therefore was not required to submit to random drug testing or disciplinary action for evading the test.
Silva and Sonnen did appear at a May 23 press conference to promote the fight.
NAC officials confirmed to MMAWeekly.com that Silva had not applied for a license to fight in Nevada, as of that point in time.
“The NSAC (Nevada Athletic Commission) has never been vested with the authority to direct or order non-licensed persons to submit to a chemical test,” stated Goodman in the Motion to Dismiss. “Consequently, the NSAC lacks jurisdiction to seek disciplinary action against Mr. Silva, and any attempt to do so, clearly exceeds the NSAC’s limited statutory jurisdiction.”
The NAC, at a Sept. 23 meeting, denied the Motion to Dismiss, held a disciplinary hearing that Silva did not attend, and doled out his punishment.
That likely isn’t the end of the situation, however, as Silva intends to fight the commission in court.
“I’ll go to the court. This is not fair, and I’m going to fight to the finish,” Silva said in a recent interview with Submission Radio. “I’m gonna prove that these guys have no law against me. These guys can’t do nothing with me. I’m gonna prove that.
“I don’t have a license,” he continued. “I don’t work for these guys. I don’t have a contract or have nothing signed. What these guys can do? Nothing, and that is their rules. I don’t make these rules. These guys make the rules, and these (guys) don’t respect their rules. What? These guys want to be over the law?”
Regardless of the outcome, Silva also admitted that getting back in the cage is not his end game.
He retired amidst all the wrangling with the Nevada commission, leveling his vitriol not only at the commission, but even more so at his former employer, the UFC, for its treatment of fighters.
“I feel that I don’t have a dignified stage where the athletes are respected,” Silva said in his retirement video. “(The promoters) are wearing down the athletes; they make them fight under any circumstances and any conditions. They use us to make rivers of money. They don’t respect the athletes, they don’t take care of the athletes, and they don’t pay the athletes.
“Enough is enough. They don’t respect us as athletes. They don’t respect us at all.”
Silva has no public inclination to fight for other promotions either. When Submission Radio asked about him possible fighting for Bellator or another promoter in the future, he denied any such aspirations.
“No, no, no. For me, it’s done. I (will) not fight anymore. For anyone.”
For now, Silva’s only fighting will be done in a courtroom.