By now you probably know that yesterday (Mon. September 14, 2015) the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) decided to suspend embattled bad boy Nick Diaz for an unheard-of five years and fine him 33 percent of his $500,000 purse in conjunction with a failed drug test for marijuana after his UFC 183 loss to former champ Anderson Silva last January.
It was Diaz’ third test failure for marijuana after having appeared before the commission in both 2007 and 2012, and he also ran from a drug test in his native California back in 2009. Obviously that was taken into account and also meant that, along with the NAC’s new, stricter guidelines for drug offenses, Diaz was most likely going to be dealt a much harsher punishment the third time around.
Diaz’ lawyer Lucas Middlebrook came in with a strong case and did his best to purvey it to the Commission, citing inaccuracies between the three tests Diaz took on fight night where two samples, which were sent to the WADA-accredited SMRTL lab, resulted in THC levels below the allowed threshold of 150 ng/ml while the third, which was sent to NAC stalwart (and supposedly lesser testing facility) Quest Diagnostics, came back with a ludicrous 733 ng/ml, which was obviously grossly outside the allowed range.
The whole thing screamed of sloppiness, and even the NAC admitted they could use improved drug testing standards, but are not given the budget to adhere to WADA’s full practices. They should, because they certainly follow WADA’s list of banned substances, which Diaz’ revered weed is of course on.
Yet this became no longer about marijuana, something the NAC actually admitted during deliberations following hours of agonizing medical analysis and back-and-forth grilling. No, this was all about power; the thing the NAC values and covets most.
This was more than apparent when Diaz took his seat before the Commission and promptly proceeded to plead the Fifth Amendment to each of Commissioner Pat Lundvall’s questions, something that visibly angered her and most certainly played a part in her recommending a lifetime ban for Diaz.
This was more about Diaz making the Commission look bad, and he most certainly did that. Their inadequacies were brought to light in a big way yesterday, as most could see they had already made up their mind about his regardless of the case his very informed legal team brought forth. That was unprofessional to say the least, and the NAC will have to answer before a real court of law when Middlebrook appeals their decision and turns this into a lengthy legal battle.
Today, almost the entire MMA community is up in arms about the suspension, and for good reason. It’s rife with favoritism and inconsistency in punishment, as several fighters who have been caught using steroids (such as Vitor Belfort, who was caught at least twice that we know of) were given comparatively lighter bans for using substances that could actually cause them to harm their opponent in the cage.
This needs to be fixed, and it needs to be fixed soon. With testing now at the forefront of MMA media, an uninformed Commission who only cares about their power and whether or not athletes come groveling at their feet looking for forgiveness will not benefit MMA or any other combat sport governed by this farce of a regulatory body.
However, Diaz also did this to himself. Find out why on the next page.