Wanderlei Silva’s attorney: Commission shows ‘lack of familiarity’ with the rules

Wanderlei Silva has his day in front of the commission on Sept 23

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The upcoming Nevada Athletic Commission meeting on September 23 will see several top UFC fighters stand tall before the man including Wanderlei Silva, whose motion to dismiss his case finally be heard at the upcoming hearing.

Silva’s attorney Ross Goodman confirmed with FOX Sports that his client is on the docket for the upcoming meeting next week.  Goodman recently filed a rebuttal to the Nevada Attorney General’s office on behalf of Silva in support of the motion to dismiss the case based on lack of jurisdiction of the commission to punish the fighter since he wasn’t licensed in the state at the time of his infraction.

Silva was scheduled to be drug tested ahead of his fight on July 5 against Chael Sonnen at UFC 175, but skipped out when the commission representative arrived at his gym to get samples back in May.  Silva admitted to fleeing the gym as opposed to taking the test and then later stated that he was on a diuretic at the time he was supposed to be tested and knew he would return a positive result.

Despite his admission, Silva’s attorney has contended all along that the commission holds no actual power to suspend or discipline him in any way because when the drug test was going to be administered he was not a licensed athlete in the state of Nevada.

The NSAC’s suggestion that unarmed combatants do not necessarily need to be licensed shows a lack of familiarity with the rules

— Ross Goodman, attorney for Wanderlei Silva

Goodman’s latest rebuttal fires back at the notion that Silva is still subject to penalties despite never receiving a license or actually fighting in the state.

"It is a prerequisite pursuant to NAC 467.850 (6) that Mr. Silva have a license before the NSAC can find a violation," Goodman wrote in his response.  "This licensure requirement is clear on the face of the statute.

"It was no accident that the complaint omitted any reference of the mandatory requirement.  There is no dispute that the NSAC cannot lawfully take disciplinary action against Mr. Silva based on a NAC 467.850 (1, 2 or 5) violation because Mr. Silva was not licensed as required."

Goodman goes on to attack the commission for a lack of knowledge of the rules they abide by as a governing body overseeing combat sports.  The Attorney General’s office contends that they are able to punish Silva regardless of his license at the time of the infraction.

Goodman says otherwise.

"The NSAC’s suggestion that unarmed combatants do not necessarily need to be licensed shows a lack of familiarity with the rules," Goodman wrote.  "As a threshold matter, an unarmed combatant ‘is engaged in unarmed combat in a contest’ something Mr. Silva did not do.  

"More importantly, licensure is a prerequisite before any unarmed combatant or any ‘person’ can compete or participate in a contest."

Goodman closes his argument with another request to dismiss the case against Silva or deal with an appeal the moment the commission attempts to punish him for the infraction.

"The NSAC has no alternative except to dismiss the complaint or subject itself to reversal on appeal for disciplining a non-licensed person," Goodman said in closing.

The latest response was received by the Attorney General’s office on September 17 with the next hearing for the motion to dismiss expected to be heard on September 23 in Las Vegas. 

Silva joins fellow UFC fighters Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier, who will meet with the commission just before his line item on the agenda as they deal with the fallout from their brawl in Las Vegas during a press conference last month.  Also on the docket, Robert Drysdale and Kevin Casey will have their suspensions handed down after testing positive for banned substances in recent fights.