On February 4, the mercurial Nick Diaz battled Carlos Condit to a controversial unanimous decision defeat in the main event of UFC 143. The loss cost Diaz the interim 170lbs title, as well as a much-desired shot at true UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
After the fight, Diaz announced his retirement from the sport. He also tested positive for marijuana metabolites with the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
NSAC executive director Keith Kizer filed a formal complaint against Diaz for the positive test, which the Stockton native has now challenged. Speaking with ESPN, Diaz’s attorney Ross Goodman made the argument that Diaz did not in fact test positive for a banned substance on the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) list.
“Marijuana is the only substance that is prohibited; not marijuana metabolites,” Goodman said. “The basis to discipline Mr. Diaz is that he tested positive for a prohibited substance. We know he didn’t test positive for marijuana. So, you look to see at WADA whether marijuana metabolites are prohibited. They do not prohibit it in any category.”
Diaz is legally prescribed to use marijuana to treat his ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in the state of California and tapers usage of the substance just over a week out from his fights. Considering how long inactive marijuana metabolites like THC-Carboxylic Acid — which is what Diaz registered — stay in your system, coupled with the fact that Diaz did not test positive for the active chemical in marijuana, THC, has Goodman thinking his client’s case should be thrown out.
“Why punish Nick, or anybody else for that matter, for a metabolite?” asked Goodman. “We’re not talking about a cocaine metabolite. We’re not talking about something illegal. We’re talking about a metabolite that stays in your system for weeks or months.”
Diaz has tested positive twice for marijuana in Nevada — where medicinal marijuana is also legal — and could end up with an extended suspension as a result. Fans of the 209 will look at this as a sign pointing to Diaz’s return, as a fighter seeking retirement likely wouldn’t expend the energy to fight a suspension.