MMA Fighting's Luke Thomas is reporting that suspended UFC Welterweight Nick Diaz has filed suit against the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for violating his due process rights. Diaz was suspended for failing a post-fight drug test following his UFC 143 loss to Carlos Condit for the interim UFC welterweight title.
Diaz was found to have marijuana metabolites in his urine. His lawyer, Ross Goodman, has been attempting to push a line of defense first devised by Vancouver Athletic Commissioner John Tweedale in a guest op-ed for Bloody Elbow. Namely that the presence of marijuana metabolites does nothing to indicate that Diaz was intoxicated during the fight and pointing out that the NSAC rules only forbid intoxication and not pre-fight usage. Diaz claims he quit smoking for 8 days before the bout. He also claims he has a medical marijuana card in California.
Diaz had hoped to get a hearing at the April 24th meeting of the NSAC earlier this week but did not manage to get on the Commission's agenda. There appeared to be something of a push-and-pull between Diaz' lawyer and the commission regarding Diaz' failure to produce his California's doctor's recommendation that he use medical marijuana.
We'll look at the points of Diaz' complaint after the jump...
Luke Thomas breaks down the suit at MMA Fighting:
Diaz's suit centers on three allegations, two of which relate to statutory complaints for which he seeks injunctive relief -- namely, to have the temporary suspension lifted and to not be required to go any further punitive proceedings. The other allegation focuses on Diaz's due process rights, the NSAC's violation of which entitles Diaz to both injunctive and declaratory relief, according to the lawsuit.
Diaz is arguing the NSAC is in violation of two statutory codes. First, statutory code NRS 233B, requires the commission to determine the outcome through proceedings related to the order of a summary suspension within 45 days of the date of the suspension.
Diaz and his lawyers argue this term has passed without any date set for a hearing. "Diaz's license has, in effect, been suspended indefinitely," says the lawsuit, "in the absence of any adverse findings having been made against him by the NSAC."
Diaz's complaint also cites breach of statute NRS 467.117, which requires that a "temporary suspension may be made only where the action is necessary to protect the public welfare". In other words, Diaz's temporary suspension is unlawful because no basis has been established that demonstrates suspending Diaz was done as a matter of preserving public health.
Citing the alleged violation of these two statutes by the NSAC, Diaz's complaint asks the court to enjoin NSAC from proceeding with any further punitive proceedings because "the NSAC has lost statutory jurisdiction to proceed with the complaint."
Time will tell if this is a shrewd move by Diaz' legal team or a self-defeating mistake.