Suspended UFC welterweight Nick Diaz is suing the Nevada State Athletic Commission over alleged Due Process violations. Diaz’s lawyer, Ross Goodman, filed the complaint on Tuesday April 24, the same day NSAC denied the license of Alistair Overeem.
MMAFighting reports the lawsuit pertains to NSAC’s handling of Nick Diaz’s UFC 143 drug test, which tested positive for marijuana metabolites. Diaz has remained under a summary suspension since the failed test.
The lawsuit is seeking to grant a stay of Diaz’s suspension and prevent NSAC from taking any further disciplinary action on Diaz. Diaz’s complaint also asserts that NSAC violated his due process by not promptly granting him a hearing related to the disciplinary action taken against him.
Diaz is alleging that since NSAC has not granted him a hearing within 45 days of the start of summary suspension, he has technically been issued an indefinite suspension. The indefinite suspension would be a violation of NRS 233B.127, a statute that states:
Under NRS 233B.127, which applies to all revocations, suspensions, annulments and withdrawals of licenses (including licenses issued by the NSAC), [p]roceedings relating to the order of summary suspension must be instituted and determined within 45 days after the date of the [suspension] unless the agency and the licensee mutually agree in writing to a longer period.
The lawsuit claims that Diaz and his counsel have made attempts to reach NSAC to set a meeting without response from NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer.
Diaz also claims a breach of statute NRS 467.117, which states that a suspension may only be issued when it is necessary to protect the “public welfare.” To put it simply, his lawyers are arguing that any type of suspension is unlawful since Diaz does not threaten the public welfare.
Diaz’s lawsuit also seeks to prevent NSAC from issuing any sort of suspension since they allege NSAC has lost any jurisdiction in the case.
Finally, Diaz’s lawyers contend that NSAC has violated the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment by suspending Diaz. Section one of the amendment states:
“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”
If the court were to rule in favor of Diaz, it would be a crippling blow to the ability of the commissions to oversee regulation of the sport.
What started as a simple positive drug test could now effectively turn into one of the biggest landmark cases in MMA history as it not only challenges NSAC but also challenges the constitutionality of the commission’s ability to regulate the sport of MMA.
What is odd about the complaint is that it makes no reference to the merits of NSAC’s original complaint against Diaz. What is also strange, is that Diaz’s counsel makes no mention of the fact that Christopher Eccles, the Nevada Deputy Attorney General, declined Diaz’s request for a spot on the April 24 agenda because Diaz had yet to submit a crucial bit of evidence to NSAC prior to the meeting. The evidence in question, Diaz’s medicinal marijuana card, has been requested for weeks by NSAC and is a considered an important aspect of the case.
Also of note, is that an affidavit signed by Nick Diaz states the only reason a rematch between him and UFC 143 opponent Carlos Condit has not be scheduled is due to the suspension. The affidavit states that without the suspension Diaz would be prepared to fight “immediately.”
The affidavit would contradict his “retirement” after UFC 143 and his brother’s, UFC lightweight contender Nate Diaz, recent comments on a recent conference call where he stated “it’s triathlon season. I don’t think [Nick’s] really interested in fighting right now. As of right now, [nothing’s changed].”
Only one thing is certain in this situation, this case is sure to take a few more twists and turns in the coming weeks.