Wanderlei Silva on Tuesday posted a video message regarding last week’s ruling by a Nevada district court judge which overturned the former Pride champion’s lifetime ban from mixed martial arts.
The Nevada Athletic Commission issued the ban to Silva in September after an incident in which “The Axe Murderer” fled from an NAC representative attempting to collect a urine sample at his Las Vegas gym. At the time, Silva was scheduled to fight Chael Sonnen in the UFC, and the Brazilian later admitted that he fled the gym because he taken banned diuretics stemming from a wrist injury.
On Friday, judge Kerry Earley overturned the NAC’s ruling, which is a boon for Silva, who retired from the sport after being handed the ban.
“When you stand up in favor of a working class, all that you want is for the workers to be treated better,” Silva said in a video statement released this afternoon. “You want their rights to be given to them, and not only their duties. Every regulatory entity has laws which the entity itself must follow.
“Today, history was made for all MMA athletes,” he continued. “We succeeded at reversing a very unjust sentence given by this commission. I hope this never happens to another athlete; to have to fight in court for their right to work. It’s not right for the commission to do that. they can’t be above the law. We need to make clear the regulatory laws.”
Ross Goodman, Silva’s attorney on the matter, had hoped to get the court to declare that the NAC did not have jurisdiction when they tried to collect the urine sample because Silva wasn’t licensed to fight when the incident occurred. However, the NAC argued that because Silva’s fight with Sonnen had already been officially announced by the UFC, they were within jurisdiction to track down the fighter, eventually banned him for life from competing in mixed martial arts.
Silva isn’t out of the woods yet, though. Earley ordered the 38-year old knockout artist appear in person before the NAC for a rehearing of the case, though an exact date was not set.
Still, Silva and his team have a victory against the commission, who last week announced much harsher penalties for any and all fighters caught trying to gain an illegal advantage while competing. Silva was pleased and said that he couldn’t have done it without his fans’ support.
“I want to thank you for all your support,” Silva said toward the end of the video. “You are like family to me. To everyone, in every city, around the world, supporting me through your screen. Even after not fighting for two years, my fans never abandon me. You are not just fans, you are real friends. After dedicating my entire life to something, you are what makes it worth it.
“In every city I go there are lines of people to see me and give me a hug,” he continued. “I love to feel your affection towards me. It’s priceless. To all of you in the Wand family, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope to personally meet you one day in your city to say my sincere thank you.”