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Judge overturns NAC's discipline of Wanderlei Silva, orders re-hearing

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Wanderlei Silva scored a victory in court last week, but he's not out of the woods yet.

A judge in Nevada district court ruled Friday that his discipline from the Nevada Athletic Commission -- a lifetime ban and $70,000 fine -- will be overturned, because it was "in excess of the statutory authority of the agency," according to court documents obtained by MMAFighting.com. Silva will have to appear again in front of the commission for a re-hearing.

However, the argument put forth by Silva's attorney Ross Goodman, that the NAC did not have proper jurisdiction because Silva was not a licensed fighter when it attempted to drug test him, was also thrown out. Judge Kerry Earley ruled that the NAC "properly exercised jurisdiction" in the matter.

Last May, the NAC sent a representative to Silva's gym for a drug test in advance of Silva's scheduled fight with Chael Sonnen at UFC 175 last July. Silva "disappeared without explanation," per the court document and did not provide a proper sample.

In June, Silva told the NAC that he had fled from the test, because he had used diuretics, a banned substance, to reduce inflammation from an injury. The commission handed Silva a lifetime ban from MMA competition and slapped him with a $70,000 fine in September. Earley found that "neither of these disciplinary actions is supported by substantial evidence in the record." Earley said the court agreed that the suspension and fine were "arbitrary and capricious."

As for the question of jurisdiction, Goodman said that Silva's team is "evaluating our options to appeal" because the court did not specifically address language in the NAC's regulations, limiting its jurisdiction to "licensed unarmed combatants." Goodman did call the ruling "the first step in the right direction."

It was immediately unclear when Silva, 38, would go back in front of the commission. Since being suspended, Silva has gone on a crusade against the UFC via YouTube videos. "The Axe Murderer" is still under contract with the organization and is not allowed to work with any other MMA promotion in any capacity.

Silva (35-12-1, 1 NC) is a legend of the sport best known for his days in PRIDE. He owns wins over Quinton Jackson, Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping.

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