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Wanderlei Silva sues Nevada State Athletic Commission, claims 'rogue' agency exceeded jurisdiction

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UFC middleweight Wanderlei Silva has sued the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and is claiming the government regulatory body exceeded their authority when they issued a lifetime ban in September of last year.

"The NSAC, like any other agency, is a 'creature' of statue and attempts to expand jurisdiction over subject matter not conferred by the legislature is without authority of the law and void. Here, the legislature clearly defined the NSAC's powers to 'issuing and revoking licenses.' Contrary to the wrongful action against [Silva], there exists no statutory authority, nor does the NSAC point to any, which allows it to expand its limited jurisdiction to include disciplining people who are not licensed by the agency," the lawsuit reads, as filed by Silva attorney Ross Goodman.

Silva, 38, was set to face Chael Sonnen at UFC 175 in July of 2014 and subject to random drug screening in Nevada. Silva refused to comply with the testing, ultimately avoiding testers. He later admitted during a NSAC hearing he did as much. He further confessed he had taken diuretics, albeit to help with a nagging injury.

During that September hearing, Goodman claimed the NSAC did not have jurisdiction to fine or punish Silva given his reading of Nevada regulatory statutes and sought to have the complaint against Silva, who was not in attendance, dismissed. The NSAC denied Goodman's request and instead handed Silva a lifetime ban in the state as well as a $70,000 fine.

Silva's complaint alleges the NSAC ignored two clear statutes - NAC 467.860 and NAC 467.110. Those, he insists, state only licensees are subject to penalty for failure to comply with testing protocol in the state.

NAC 467.860 states, "A licensee who violates any provision of this section is subject to disciplinary action by the Commission." In addition, NAC 467.110 reads, "The Executive Director of a Commissioner may institure disciplinary proceedings described in NRS 467.110 to 467.117...against a person who is licensed pursuant to this chapter by filing a complaint with this chapter."

"Yet," Silva's complaint says, "the NSAC refused to provide any explanation for exceeding its jurisdiction when summarily denying [Silva]'s Motion to Dismiss. This was no surprise given that the NSAC also misled the public by inserting the full text of the statute while intentionally omitting these licensure provisions. The agency acted rogue by taking action outside of the limited jurisdiction against someone who was not licensed, which requires a reversal of the NSAC's Order."

In addition to alleging Silva was fined in an arbitrary manner, Silva and his attorney also claim the NSAC retaliated against against him. In the complaint, they allege "actual drug test violations" in the state receive weaker punishments. In Silva's 20-year career, they insist, he's never run afoul of any regulatory body for drug test failures, yet was given a harsher punishment than multiple-time offenders. "The retaliatory nature by the NSAC of imposing a career ending sanction based on a first offense is by nature arbitrary and capricious," the lawsuit reads.

Silva's complaint ultimately asks the reviewing court to grant relief by essentially upending the aforementioned NSAC suspension handed down to Silva in September. The complaint can be read in its entirety below: