Nick Diaz, the controversial UFC Welterweight and former Strikeforce ww champ, has been suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission since failing a post-fight drug test after losing an interim title bout to Carlos Condit at UFC 143. Diaz will appeal his suspension next month and has retained Las Vegas lawyer Ross C. Goodman to represent him.
Goodman spoke to Sherdog in advance of the hearing. The thrust of the case appears to be whether or not Diaz was under the influence during the fight or not. The metabolites that were found in his urine at the post-fight drug test do not indicate intoxication, merely use at some point in the recent past.
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Goodman addresses this point:
In this case, Nick Diaz tested for the presence of its metabolite, called "THC carboxylic acid," which is an inactive ingredient of marijuana metabolite, which can stay in your system stored in your fat tissues for weeks, up to months, after use of marijuana. Most people understand that [the] psychological effects of marijuana after smoking it wear off within two to six hours. That is what the commission, the regulatory agencies, are concerned about because you don't want somebody fighting under the influence or impaired by a psychoactive substance. Once that active ingredient wears off within two to six hours of use, then all that's left are the residual metabolites from the metabolism of the marijuana stored in somebody's fat tissues, which is not a controlled substance, which is not psychoactive, which is simply an inactive metabolite which has no impact on an athlete.
In anticipation of this argument from Diaz, the NSAC has lately been more focused on the issue of Diaz not applying for a Therapeutic Use Exemption or listing his medical marijuana prescription on his pre-fight forms. Goodman has an answer for this argument as well:
More after the jump.
Yeah, but Nick Diaz wasn't using it in-competition, so it's completely inapplicable here. What you're talking about are prescribed medications that an individual needs to continuously use and therefore uses during competition. Nick Diaz has a general practice of discontinuing marijuana use eight days before a fight, so he wasn't under the influence and he wasn't consuming an illegal substance -- whether you want to call it prescription medication or medical marijuana -- in-competition. So there was no need for him to seek a therapeutic use exemption. And again, that's why Nevada and the World Anti-Doping Agency say, "We don't care about your marijuana use before the fight. We only care about it in-competition." And Nick doesn't use it in-competition. It would be foolish for him to use it in-competition.
It's good to see that Diaz will have legal representation at his hearing, whether or not Goodman can persuade the commission to lift the suspension early is a different matter.