NSAC Files Answering Brief In Wanderlei Silva Drug Testing Case

In the ongoing legal saga involving Wanderlei Silva ducking an out of competition drug test by the Nevada State Athletic Commission the Commission has now filed their answering brief arguing that they have the right to test unarmed combatants out of competition, even if they are not presently licensed, if a bout involving that athlete is being promoted in their jurisdiction and further discipline such an athlete.

While I certainly agree the NAC should have that power the current reading of the statute creating the NAC likely falls short of doing so.

In any event, I have obtained a copy of the NAC’s answering brief from the Commission and it can be found here: NSAC Answering Brief to Silva Judicial Review

The NAC argues as follows:

Out of competition testing and the subsequent discipline of unarmed combatants who cheat, is particularly necessary in unarmed combat sports.  After all, these sports are not about cheating with PED’s in order to hit homeruns or run around a track faster.  Rather, these sports involve combatants striking each other with blows which may reasonably be expected to inflict injury.  The Commission and promoters are doing their jobs to protect unarmed combatants ad the integrity of the sport when they take measures to catch and discipline athletes that cheat by doping, which brings us back to Silva…

Should an unarmed combatant who has a contest scheduled in Nevada be permitted to evade drug testing in the weeks before his contest?  The Commission believes that for health and safety of the contestants and the integrity of the sport, the answer must be “No”….When a statute is clear and unambiguous on its face, a court may not go beyond the language of the statute in determining the legislature’s intent.  The plain language of the definition of an unarmed combatant, when read together with NAC 468.850, supports the conclusion that the Commission had authority to order Silva to submit to testing…

But if the Court determines that an ambiguity exists with regard to the laws at issue…any ambiguity should be resolved in favor of the Commission’s drug testing program.

My 2 cents – Silva’s arguments about the shortcoming of the Nevada statutes are sound.  The Commission likely did not have the jurisdiction to take the actions they did and as much as they want to take a stand and make an example of Silva, a better move would be to see that proper legislative change is made to give them appropriate drug testing and disciplinary powers.

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