Wanderlei Silva Is on His Way to Redemption

Fightland Blog

By Fightland Staff

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

While we await the hearing before the Nevada State Athletic Commission of Brazilian former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, the fate of another Brazilian legend in the sport was somewhat forgotten.

In 2014, Wanderlei Silva was punished by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after having been accused of ducking a surprise drug test. Silva was handed a harsh lifetime ban and fined US$ 70,000. Since then, he's engaged the UFC in a long and absurd war fought via YouTube.

At the time—May of 2014—he was gearing up to face Chael Sonnen at UFC 175, in July of that year. A Commission representative had showed up to Silva’s academy in Las Vegas, where Silva apparently sneaked out through the back door. Silva would later explain that he escaped the test because he had taken diuretics to help lessen inflammation stemming from an injury—diuretics are banned by the NSAC. Wanderlei Silva then announced his retirement from the sport, commencing a series of legal contention with the UFC. He criticized the promotion’s practices and at one point even called them slave drivers, after trying to negotiate a contract with Scott Coker’s competing Bellator promotion but failing due to his pending contractual obligations with the UFC.

Now, a Nevada court has decided to revert the Athletic Commission’s decision to ban Silva, and has retracted the fine Silva had to pay, on account that it was “in excess of the statutory authority of the agency.” In other words, the Commission screwed up. According to the legal documents, which MMAFIghting.com procured, the Commission’s move to ban and fine Silva were “arbitrary, capricious and not supported by substantial evidence.” 

Good news for the Axe Murderer, but this doesn’t mean he’s in the clear. the 38-year-old fighter, famous for his time spent in the iconic Pride ring—where he defeated Rampage Jackson and Hendo, among others—will have to appear before the NSAC again for a re-hearing. A date has not yet been established. Still under UFC contract, it is also unclear if the promotion will call upon him again if he’s again allowed to compete.


Check out these related stories:

A Look Back at The Iconic Career of Wanderlei Silva

The Toughest Fight of Wanderlei’s Career

So I Trained with an Axe Murderer