Nick Diaz Suspended for a Year, 30% of UFC 143 Purse

Nick Diaz UFC 137 weigh-inNick Diaz went before the Nevada State Athletic Commission in a grueling three hour meeting to challenge his suspension for a positive drug test. In the end, after being grilled for hours on his medical/personal history of marijuana and his failed UFC 143 test, the commission voted unanimously to suspend Diaz for a year and dock him 30% of his UFC 143 fight purse.

Diaz came off as honest in the hearing but often too honest at times. At one point in the hearing Commissioner Pat Lundvall reminded Diaz that he promised to quit smoking following his failed PRIDE 33 drug test and asked Diaz when he started smoking again, Diaz candidly responded “I would imagine when I got home.” Diaz further went on to state that he started using marijuana recreationally well before he was given a recommendation for marijuana.

While Diaz’s legal team did their best to use the WADA code as the basis of the argument, the commission reminded them that while NSAC uses WADA as a base, WADA rules have no bearing on Nevada rulings. One commissioner even stated that the use of metabolites is necessary in all drug testing, including steroids, since metabolites are what is measured in an urinalysis.

Diaz’s team also brought in a former Quest Labs doctor to attempt to dispel the basis of the test being “in competition.”  The doctor stated that Diaz’s levels were consistent for a regular user who had stopped using eight days prior and that furthermore, he was surprised the levels were not higher than that.

It should be noted, however, that the prefight medical questionnaire defines a two week period prior to the fight night and Nick Diaz did not admit to using marijuana on the form, despite his usage falling within the two week time period.

Nevada Deputy Attorney Chris Eccles also called into question Diaz’s understanding of the medical questionnaire and whether he intentionally deceived the commission. Eccles asserted that Diaz should have understood and disclosed his ADHD and medical marijuana usage because his own doctor’s recommendation stated that Diaz had a “serious medical condition.” Commissioner Lundvall also called into question Diaz’s truthfulness in understanding the form after he stated he understood the form in the hearing but quickly backtracked after glancing at his attorney.

Another assertion was made by NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer, who testified that Diaz’s November UFC 137 test showed signs of tampering because the urine sample was diluted. Kizer also testified that Diaz refused to take his UFC 143 drug test until Kizer threatened to withhold his purse from the fight. Kizer then stated that Diaz’s 143 test also showed signs of possible dilution.

In the end, the commission stated they respected Diaz as a fighter but that his contradictory statements hurt his credibility with the commission. Commissioner Lundvall also stated that she wished Diaz had applied for a Therapeutic Use Exemption, since it would have gone a long way in establishing his credibility during the proceedings.

Diaz’s suspension was dated retroactively to February 4 and he was fined 30% of his total fight purse and any bonus money he received from the bout.