Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) voted unanimously to uphold the 12 month suspension they gave UFC Welterweight Nick Diaz after a very long hearing today in Las Vegas, Nevada. Diaz failed a post-fight urine test following his UFC 143 interim title fight loss to Carlos Condit. His urine showed marijuana metabolites.
He was also fined 30% of his purse and bonus from the fight. The suspension runs from the date of the bout, ie. until February 4, 2013.
Diaz appeared before the NSAC with his attorney Ross Goodman. Goodman argued that the appearance of marijuana metabolites in no way indicated that Diaz was impaired during the fight and that the NSAC's rules only prohibit marijuana use at fight time, much like it allows fighters to drink alcohol between fights but prohibits them from fighting drunk.
The argument Goodman presented was very similar to the argument originally presented by Jonathan Tweedale, Commissioner with the Vancouver Athletic Commission here at Bloody Elbow back in February.
Notes from the hearing after the jump...
Goodman attempted to make the claim that the NSAC had no evidence that Diaz was impaired during the bout. The Commissioners do not seem overly sympathetic to that argument.
Nick Diaz was then sworn in. Commissioner Pat Lundvall immediately raised the issue of Nick Diaz' previous suspension in Nevada after his bout with Takanori Gomi at Pride 33 in 2007. Diaz promised the Commission it would not happen again. Lundvall then asked him when he next smoked cannibas and Diaz admitted he smoked immediately on returning home from his hearing.
There followed extensive questioning about Diaz' history of medical marijuana usage, his diagnosis with ADHD and use of prescription stimulants to combat that condition before switching to medical marijuana. The commissioners then zeroed in on Diaz' use of marijuana before receiving his medical marijuana card.
Extensive questioning on Diaz' mode of using marijuana to train followed. Diaz denied that being high while training allowed him to "take more hits." He did admit that sometimes he could attain a certain "zone" of performance but didn't ascribe that directly to his marijuana usage.
An extensive attempt to get Diaz to admit that he had to have a "serious medical condition" to receive a medical marijuana card. Diaz never would admit that was his understanding although the commissioners seemed to think that was a prerequisite of obtaining a California cannabis card.
The Commission then called a Dr. Sample who answered questions about the testing protocol and what the test results could tell us about the timing of Diaz' marijuana use.
At this point the hearing had to adjourn and move to another conference room.
Diaz' team then called in their own doctor (a former employee of Quest Labs) who testifed that "In this case, a sample with 25 ng/ml is consistent with a regular user who stopped 8 days before test sample collection."
The doctor than stated that "It's my conclusion [Diaz] wasn't on THC at the time of the fight."
The doctor stated that he was actually surprised Diaz' metabolite levels weren't higher given his smoking habits and an 8 day period without smoking.
The questioning then focused on Diaz' weight cut and whether there was an inconsistency between what Diaz told his doctor and what he put on his paperwork submitted to the NSAC as regards the size of his weight cut.
After closing statements from Diaz' attorneys, the commissioners spoke. Pat Lundvall expressed her wish that Diaz had applied for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) before the fight.
Another commissioner said it was unlikely that the NSAC would change their testing apparatus. Lundvall then moved for a 12 month suspension.