I won’t repeat the arguments as to why the Nevada State Athletic Commission has overstepped their bounds by imposing or threatening to impose penalties against Wanderlei Silva for ducking a drug test and Chael Sonnen for competing in a grappling contest while under a suspension from ‘fighting’, but in addition to these issues a further example highlighting the NSAC’s lack of understanding of the laws under which they operate became apparent during their latest round of disciplinary hearings.
While deliberating the penalty for Jon Jones due to his face-off scuffle with Daniel Cormier, the Commission determined a $50,000 fine was appropriate and suggested the money go directly to them for drug testing programs or directly to a charity of the commissions choosing.
The discussion takes place at approximately the one hour 17 minute mark of the hearing which is available on Fightpass where Commissioner Marnell states “instead of sending the money through us to the general fund to be used by some other government entity I would much rather see the money go into the community where, so, in my mind I can get very soft hearted about all the positives of all of this. And it doesn’t have to get paid until the next fight he fights in the State of Nevada where we would take it out of the cheque so it doesn’t burden his immediate cashflow“.
The commissions clerk quickly shoots this idea down telling the commission “Commissioner Marnell, at this point any fine has to go into the general fund…and if its something that this Commission wants to see the legislature change they can go before the legislature and say that they would like a certain percentage of the fine to actually go to...” at which time the Commission cuts the clerk off and suggests they can find a way around this to which the clerk again responds “at this point any fine must go directly to the general fund“.
Instead of shooting from the hip and regulating the sport at their whim, the Commission would do well to heed the advice of their own Clerk and understand the limits of their authority. If there are gaps that need to be addressed they can petition the legislature for appropriate changes. It appears they may not be prepared to accept these limits and a judicial showdown stemming from the Silva matter appears to be in the Commission’s imminent future.