I'm sure you've heard the news by now. The UFC's resident anti-hero Nick Diaz tested positive for marijuana metabolites today and is about to face a long suspension. This will be Nick's second weed suspension by the NSAC, and he has now screwed up both of his scheduled UFC appearances in one way or another. In addition, he also blew his chances at a rematch with Carlos Condit, a bout that was all but official before this positive test surfaced. Precedent states that he will not be released from the promotion. But it's high time Dana White set a new precedent and kicked Stockton's finest to the curb.
Before you start screaming "it's just weed, man!", let's get one thing out of the way. It doesn't matter that it's "just weed." NSAC rules say it's an illegal substance. Whether you agree with that or not is completely irrelevant. The bottom line is that it IS illegal, and unless it was a false positive for some reason, Diaz, of his own free will, ingested something in a certain time frame that he knew might lead to a positive test. The fault (again, if it's not a false positive) falls entirely upon one person - Nick Diaz. Apologize and make excuses for him all you want. Nothing changes that simple fact.
After Diaz skipped two press conferences and was removed from his UFC welterweight title bout with Georges St. Pierre before UFC 137, he was given the stiff sentence of instead competing in the co-main event against B.J. Penn. This time he will actually be severely punished. He will lose a large portion of his UFC 143 purse, and a purse from the Condit rematch. He will also be out for a year, based on NSAC precedent for repeat offenders. Luckily for Nick, UFC president Dana White is notoriously soft on people that pop for illegal substances. He has stated multiple times that a long suspension, which robs the fighter of the opportunity to make a living, is punishment enough. I suspect that will be the case here as well. But, Mr. White, this situation is different, and you should treat this differently.
As I have stated before, Diaz, a guy who flaunts his ability to beat marijuana tests to the media yet still gets busted, has been enabled for his entire career. He has been allowed to do as he pleases, with little to no repercussions. His coaches cover for him at every opportunity. His fans, even when faced with a mountain of evidence in regards to his guilt, still protect his "good" name and ignore his transgressions. On top of all this, his promoters/bosses have frequently let him skate because he's a commodity they hope to squeeze future revenue out of. Where does it end? Where's the line in the sand?
If Dana White has any sense, he will cut ties with Diaz once and for all. White loves to say that MMA will become the biggest sport in the world one day. He's not going to get there any time soon by continually enabling fighters that can't follow simple rules, fighters that actually flaunt their ability to get around those rules beforehand. Unfortunately, the anti-hero has sunk his hooks into the hearts of fans with money in their wallet, and the mighty dollar rules all when it comes to the UFC. You'll see Nick Diaz in the octagon in 2013. And people will still care. And that's pathetic.