Wanderlei Silva gets three-year ban

ByBrett Okamoto ESPN logo
Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended mixed martial arts legend Wanderlei Silva for three years during a re-sentencing hearing on Wednesday in Las Vegas.

The suspension is retroactive to May 24, 2014, which means the 39-year-old will be eligible to apply for a license in 2017.

Silva (35-12) originally received a lifetime suspension in September 2014, after he admitted to fleeing a random drug test. A Nevada judge lifted that lifetime ban last May, however, describing the punishment as "arbitrary, capricious and not supported by substantial evidence."

On Wednesday, the NSAC voted unanimously in favor of a three-year suspension. It also lifted a $70,000 fine that was part of Silva's original sentence.

Ross Goodman, Silva's attorney, did not respond to a request for comment. Goodman had previously stated he intends to appeal the NSAC's jurisdictional right to punish Silva at all, based on the fact Silva was not technically licensed to fight in the state of Nevada when he fled the test.

Silva was scheduled to fight Chael Sonnen at UFC 175 in July 2014. He admitted he avoided the random test in Las Vegas because he had taken diuretics, which are considered a banned substance.

The UFC has since released Silva from his contract, making him a free agent. Bellator MMA and Japanese promotion Rizin FF have each expressed interest in signing Silva. Although he is under suspension in the state of Nevada until 2017, it's possible he could fight overseas outside of its jurisdiction.