Following months of speculation and rescheduling, popular UFC fighter Nick Diaz finally appeared before the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) in Las Vegas today (Mon., September 14, 2015) to receive sanctions for his third failed drug test for marijuana in conjunction with his unanimous decision loss to Anderson Silva at January’s UFC 183.
Diaz’ legal team recently revealed that they had requested a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for marijuana given that Diaz is medically licensed to use the otherwise banned substance in his home state of California. Nevada Deputy Attorney General Christopher Eccles stood firm in his stance that Diaz tried to and failed to pass a drug test for marijuana in the days leading up to the bout and only asked for the TUE because he knew he would fail again.
Lucas Middlebrook represented Diaz at today’s hearing and stated that his client would not be testifying on the basis on not incriminating himself, which visibly angered Commissioner Pat Lundvall, who said the NAC would force Diaz to deny answering inquiries on a question-by-question basis.
It wasn’t the best start for Diaz, but his team tried to right the ship by insisting that pre-fight drug tests results from tests taken at the UFC offices were not to be disclosed to the NAC as they allegedly were. A very, very lengthy back-and-forth discussion of the scientific details of Diaz’s tests ensued.
Diaz’ team, specifically Middlebrook, fought hard and raised some valid points, and even called out the NAC for interpreting the Constitution to their own purposes when Diaz plead the Fifth Amendment to each and every question that Lundvall asked.
When the heated scene was all said and done, Lundvall motioned for a lifetime suspension and the maximum fine of 33 percent of Diaz’ $500,000 purse. Commissioners Marnell and Ivansino disagreed with the lifetime ban but noted that Diaz did disregard the Commission and the rules of MMA.
Ultimately the NAC issued Diaz a brutal five-year ban including restrictions on him attending events in certain capacities and gave him the maximum fine.
Although an appeal from Middlebrook is obviously expected, this could certainly spell the end of the line for the Stockton slugger’s MMA career.
The initial backlash has been a brutal one against the NAC, as most believe it’s an absolute joke that even a fighter like Diaz would get five years for smoking marijuana. What do you think?
Social media is understandably on fire with the shocking announcement, so click over to the next page to see the reactions of some of MMA’s most prominent faces!
— Diego Sanchez UFC (@DiegoSanchezUFC) September 14, 2015
— King Mo (@KingMoFH) September 14, 2015
Once again NAC sends message that they would prefer you admit to all with a puppy dog face, kiss their ass and beg for forgiveness. Insanity — Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) September 14, 2015
Would it have been better in the NSAC’s eyes for Nick to not come at all today? Guess so. Complete injustice done by them today. — Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) September 14, 2015
#FREENICKDIAZ — esther lin (@allelbows) September 14, 2015
I don’t even think Nick wins on appeal. They’ll say you flunked 3 tests. They don’t care it’s for weed. NV won’t undermine their own entity — FrontRowBrian® (@FrontRowBrian) September 14, 2015
Has anyone testing positive for steroids been suspended even remotely close to 5 years? — Scott jorgensen (@Scottjorgensen) September 14, 2015
Talk about taking someone’s life away
— Scott jorgensen (@Scottjorgensen) September 14, 2015
NSAC: Use PEDs, not weed.
— Guilherme Cruz (@guicruzzz) September 14, 2015
I personally feel that Nick Diaz getting what amounts to a lifetime ban for a non-PED is absolutely insane!! Out of touch with reality
— Jimmy Smith (@jimmysmithmma) September 14, 2015
All in all the main event at UFC 183 was great for NAC. Got some extra change & some power tripping in. Crazy how today played out for Diaz — Duane Finley (@DuaneFinleyMMA) September 14, 2015
Diaz’ attorney Lucas Middlebrook says of course they will appeal. “It was a personal vendetta suspension by the NSAC.” — #freenickdiaz
— The Spartan (@EliasTheodorou) September 14, 2015
I’ve been saying the industry of Mma supports steroids for years, wants the fighters on them, this is just another confirmation. — Cole Miller (@colemillerATT) September 14, 2015