Ross Goodman, the Las Vegas-based attorney who represents Wanderlei Silva has stated that the former Pride Fighting champion has been released from his contract with the UFC. Silva went to Facebook today to post an apology he issued to the UFC for statement he made last year regarding fight fixing.
“The UFC has released Wanderlei from any and all obligations or rights to Zuffa, which obviously now allows him to do whatever he wants,” Goodman told MMAjunkie.
A UFC official declined to comment on the matter, but said a statement is forthcoming from the promotion. Goodman said the UFC’s litigation against Silva is “in the process of being dismissed, so all the agreements have been signed.”
“The mutual release was signed by (UFC President) Dana White yesterday,” Goodman added.
The attorney said the terms of Silva’s settlement are confidential.
Silva was effectively held in career limbo because he was under contract with the UFC while in dispute with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which issued him a lifetime ban after he evaded an out-of-competition drug test in connection with UFC 175.
The UFC blocked Silva from making a promotional appearance for the Viacom-owned Bellator, citing his contractual obligations.
Via Goodman, Silva, who later admitted to taking a banned diuretic prior to the event, fought the commission’s ruling and this past summer won a victory in Nevada district court, where a judge overturned the lifetime ban and ordered the NSAC to re-hear the fighter.
Since then, however, Silva’s case has repeatedly been delayed by the commission. On Tuesday, the commission delayed the re-hearing a fourth time, claiming a personnel shift in commission attorneys forced another delay. NSAC chair Anthony Marnell promised Goodman that Silva’s case would be heard next month.
Today, Goodman said former NSAC chair and current commissioner Francisco Aguilar had already proposed a consent decree – essentially, a settlement without admission of guilt – prior to Silva’s first scheduled re-hearing. But he said the commission took it off the table after the personnel shift.
“Now, all of a sudden, the same consent decree that they propose, they’re having issues with,” Goodman said.
A public records request for the decree by MMAjunkie was denied by the NSAC, which stated it was a non-public document.
Goodman today said the NSAC’s decision ultimately is irrelevant, as he plans to take Silva’s case to the Nevada Supreme Court. He argues the commission overstepped its bounds when they tested Silva, who at the time of his NSAC drug test was not licensed by the commission.
Silva, 39, retired after the lifetime ban.
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