Since running from a random drug screening ordered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission just months ago there’s been quite a bit of discussion regarding the future of his fighting career in the UFC.
Silva has since claimed that he should not be asked to submit to a drug test prior to obtaining a license to compete in the state. That may hold some water, however the fact that he ran from authorities when confronted the first time made some people very suspicious.
President of the UFC, Dana White himself has come out and said “I think he’s very wrong”, “I think he’s in big trouble. You cannot run away from a test. You can’t do it, and it sets a very bad precedent. He would have been better off taking the test and testing positive than running from the test.”
Not long after the initial confrontation with NSAC authorities Silva came back to explain he was concerned that the diuretics he was taking for “anti-inflamitory” purposes, due to an injury sustained in his wrist earlier this year, would count against him in the test. It’s very likely they would have, and the commission has been known to be more and more strict in recent months over the use of any sort of Performance Enhancing Drugs in professional combat sports.
According to the Mayo Clinic:
“Diuretics are drugs that change your body’s natural balance of fluids and salts (electrolytes) and can lead to dehydration. This loss of water can decrease an athlete’s weight, helping him or her to compete in a lighter weight class, which many athletes prefer. Diuretics may also help athletes pass drug tests by diluting their urine and are sometimes referred to as a “masking” agent.
Diuretics taken at any dose, even medically recommended doses, predispose athletes to adverse effects such as: Dehydration, Muscle cramps, Exhaustion, Dizziness, Fainting, Potassium deficiency, Heart arrhythmias, Drop in blood pressure, Loss of coordination and balance, Heatstroke, Death”
Whatever the reason Silva had for taking diuretics, the fact he freely admitted to this after running from authorities does not invalidate the fact it is considered a banned substance in competitive athletics. So what’s all the fuss about? Shouldn’t this be an open and shut case? Shouldn’t he sustain the same punishment given to Chael Sonnen?
A video released June 18th by Wanderlei’s PR team shows him at the hearing regarding his refusal to submit to the random drug screen. During the video you may note he is almost “chummy” with some of the officials in the room. Is it a sign of favoritism or pure professionalism?
A story published this morning by AG Fight quoted Silva with a positive spin on the likely outcome of these hearings, “I have been preparing the defense. But there’s not much that can be done (as punishment), [there is] no law about me. I do not have a license [to compete] and I’m not committed to participate in any event. I’ll make my defense, and when [they] have something in mind, I will [take the] test and prove I’m clean”
More than the credibility of one fighter, the credibility of the entire NSAC may hang in the balance on this ruling. If they do not apply the same standards to all fighters equally then why bother making impositions in the first place? Of course, fairness is never a guarantee in life, but it is something that we strive for in society and if anything the primary function of the AC’s is to ensure a fair platform for competition in professional athletics.
Although, on the surface, the NSAC’s jurisdiction appears to be limited the state of Nevada, many of the orders given when the commission rules on a matter have often included stipulations, in fine print, that could apply to events taking place anywhere on the planet. Again, Chael Sonnen rises to the surface as an example, where most recently the NSAC warned Mr. Sonnen from competing in Metamoris 4 else he would face further sanctions (either in the form of fines or an extension to his ban from the sport). However, there has been a good deal of debate over whether a grappling event would even apply to the stipulations set forth by the commission.
The commission has refused to back away from it’s position even after receiving protests to it’s actions. Is the commission now just making up rules as they go along?
It is likely we haven’t heard the end of this from either Sonnen, Silva, or the commission, but it is certainly unarguable that rules set forth should be enforced equally to all professionals.
What are your thoughts on the commission’s actions of late? Are they being fair or are they being selective in their approach to enforcement of rules and regulations?