Strike a blow for fighters against the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and their battle to impose harsher drug testing related sanctions and sentencing. A district court judge has reversed the NSAC's ruling of a lifetime ban on Wanderlei Silva for fleeing from a drug testing official. While the judge did agree that the NSAC has jurisdiction over Wandy even when he's not licensed to compete in Nevada, the ban was apparently not supported by sufficient evidence. Brett Okamoto of ESPN reported the details on Twitter.
A district court judge has REVERSED the lifetime ban imposed on Wanderlei Silva by the NSAC and ordered there be a new disciplinary hearing.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) May 18, 2015
The NV district judge agreed the NSAC had jurisdiction over Silva, even though he was not licensed when they attempted to drug test him.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) May 18, 2015
However, the district judge ruled that Silva's lifetime ban was not supported by substantial evidence.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) May 18, 2015
Ross Goodman, Wanderlei Silva's attorney, says he is 'evaluating options' in terms of a potential appeal, regarding the jurisdiction issue.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) May 18, 2015
NAC approves lifetime bans for drug users
It looks like the NAC is taking on the UFC's idea of harsher drug test enforcement and running with it, as they've approved plans for a whole slew of severe drug test failure punishments to go into effect later this year.
This could be a big deal for the UFC and the NSAC as it comes right on the heels of the NSAC's announced increase in punishments for drug test failures, including punishments for avoiding drug tests. All of the NSAC's new punishment standards include the potential for a lifetime ban for multiple offenses including fleeing from a drug test or drug testing officials. This verdict in Silva's favor may give the NSAC some pause before handing out some of their longer and more punitive sentences if there's a likelihood that the verdict could be challenged successfully in court.
No word yet on what this might mean for Wanderlei's UFC career, or what the potential result of Silva's new disciplinary hearing might be, but we'll be sure to keep you updated with more information as it becomes available.