Nick Diaz’ Legal Team Accuses NAC Of Prejudice From Confidential Drug Tests

nick diaz
Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea for USA TODAY Sports

With Nick Diaz finally set to before the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) next Monday, September 14, 2015, for his UFC 183 drug test failure for marijuana, his third such infraction since 2006, some light has been shed on the popular bad boy’s case.

News has arrived from MMA Junkie that Diaz reportedly took multiple drug tests at UFC offices in the days leading up to his UFC 183 bout with Anderson Silva, a condition of him being licensed to fight in Nevada after his second failure for marijuana following his UFC 143 loss to Carlos Condit, which followed his infamous suspension after a classic Pride win over Takanori Gomi in Nevada.

He did eventually pass a test on January 28 – three days before the fight – but Diaz was reportedly concerned about submitting a clean sample, so much so that his team lead by manager Lloyd Pierson considered asking for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) from presiding Nevada Deputy Attorney General Christopher Eccles.

Diaz’ team insists that the NAC was apparently made aware of the tests he submitted and failed in the UFC offices despite them being told otherwise by the promotion. Because of that, Diaz’ lawyers filed a motion to deny the NAC’s subpoena for any documentation of this, believing it to influence the commission’s eventual punishment of the fighter:

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“Prejudice will result from the adverse inference taken against Mr. Diaz from any test result disclosures,” wrote Diaz attorney Alicia Ashcraft and co-counsel Lucas Middlebrook. “Unfairness will result from admitting evidence that is not relevant and in breach of confidentiality.

“The effect will surely be to undermine Mr. Diaz’s due process rights by the commission’s abuse of discretion.”

But Eccles fired back with a countermeasure, noting that Diaz simply waited around for too long to get licensed because he could not pass the drug test:

“Diaz did not file his application until January 28, only three days before the contest,” wrote Nevada Deputy Attorney General Chris Eccles. “Why did he wait so long to apply for a license for the biggest fight of his life? The answer is simple: Because he could not pass the required urine test.”

The story from the NAC went that Diaz had been issued three drug tests in conjunction with UFC 183, passing the first and last that were sent to accredited Sports Medicine and Research Laboratory, but failed the second sent to Quest Diagnostics in Las Vegas. That is the test the NAC is basing its complaint against Diaz on due to his failure for levels twice as much as the allowed THC limit 15 ng/ml.

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They also insinuated that Diaz lied about using marijuana on his pre-fight medicals, so on August 3, NAC Chairman Francisco Aguilar subpoenaed Diaz to release any other testing incurred outside the commission from January 13-28 when he was attempting to be licensed. Eccles maintained that Diaz’ team informed him around January 23 their client couldn’t pass the test and needed a TUE.

The spokepeople for Diaz called the collection of these test results from the UFC offices inadmissible unless authorized by Diaz himself; something his team suggests did not take place and therefore damaged his professional reputation when the results were made public:

“Through its representative, UFC assured Mr. Pierson — and thus Mr. Diaz — that all UFC-arranged out-of-competition urine specimen collections, tests, and corresponding results were to be strictly confidential and to remain undisclosed unless Mr. Diaz consented otherwise.

“The disclosure of such tests could adversely affect his professional reputation, damaging his income. Moreover, the commission has no claim on such tests that were out-of-competition, conducted by utilizing collection procedures and testing methodology inconsistent with applicable WADA standards, and undertaken by Mr. Diaz in the good faith belief that they would remain confidential.”

But yet again Eccles fired back with doubt, placing the onus on Diaz for waiting too long to apply for his license due to an inability to pass a drug test:

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“And now, Diaz blithely argues that these results are confidential. He even asserts a commercial interest in preserving the confidentiality of failed urine tests disclosed by his own manager as part of the commission’s application process.

“In fact, Diaz was desperate to get licensed for the biggest of his life. But he waited and waited until the 11th hour to apply because he could not obtain the required clean drug test result.”

So Diaz is set to face some absolutely harsh punishments for his third failure due to the fact that the NAC recently enacted stiffer penalties for drug use, and his hearing was continued when his lawyer Lucas Middlebrooks could not attend it last month. It could be quite a long time before we see the elder Diaz brother in an MMA cage if ever as a result, and his team’s defense seems to be getting about as much respect as Anderson Silva’s ‘mystery blue liquid’ farce last month.

Does the pot-smoking pugilist have a case that will get him any leniency in front of the commission, or is his proverbial goose already cooked?