Nick Diaz makes his entrance at UFC 143 on Feb. 4, 2012 in Las Vegas. Imaga via Esther Lin of MMA Fighting
Nick Diaz was famously suspended for elevated marijuana metabolites following his UFC 143 loss to Carlos Condit, and is facing a one year suspension as a repeat offender in Nevada. Nick's lawyer Ross Goodman talked to ESPN about their defense, which is strikingly similar to what Vancouver Athletic Commission chief Jonathan Tweedale posted on BE a few weeks ago. Here's what Goodman had to say regarding the response that he submitted to the NSAC today:
"Marijuana is the only substance that is prohibited; not marijuana metabolites," Goodman told ESPN.com.
"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."
According to the affidavit submitted with the response, Nick was prescribed medical marijuana by his physician for his ADHD, and that he stops using the substance eight days before fights. They (his defense team) consider that "out of competition" and not subject to punishment:
According to Goodman, the substance Diaz tested positive for was THC-Carboxylic Acid, an inactive marijuana metabolite. NSAC executive director Keith Kizer was unavailable to comment on that claim Monday.
The response filed to the commission, therefore, challenges that Diaz merely tested positive for an inactive metabolite, which is not listed as a prohibited substance.
"You have to test positive for marijuana, as opposed to this inactive ingredient Nick did," Goodman said.
"If there's nothing in the rules prohibiting marijuana metabolites, why are we here?"
One major question that has been asked is - why didn't Nick get a Therapeutic Use Exemption? The lawyer explains that too:
Goodman says Diaz did not take that measure because he discontinues use eight days before a contest -- long enough for the effects of the active compound in marijuana, THC, to wear off.
The filed document also points to the "long detection window" of marijuana in one's system as a potential reason why WADA does not include metabolites on its banned substance list.
Diaz's legal team argues that since marijuana is not prohibited to athletes out-of-competition per commission standards, it would be unreasonable for its banned substance list to contain marijuana metabolites.
"Why punish Nick, or anybody else for that matter, for a metabolite?" Goodman said. "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 was originally scheduled to have a hearing in April, but that could be delayed now because of this filing.