Nick Diaz is an admitted medical marijuana patient in California. Nonetheless, he has received a five year suspension and $165,000 fine from the Nevada State Athletic Commission for testing positive for the plant.
I wanted to tell them what I think. I wanted to tell each and every one of them they’re a bunch of dorks. Everybody who sees them or knows who they are should tell them that. I would if it weren’t for my experts advising me to keep my mouth shut. I wanted to get up and say, ‘Look. You guys are way the fuck out of line.’ – Nick Diaz
The January 31st fight between Diaz and Anderson Silva, where Diaz tested positive for marijuana metabolites and ultimately lost by decision, was later changed to no-contest due to Silva testing positive for anabolic steroids. Silva received a one year suspension and was fined $380,000 for the incident. Diaz has been suspended two previous times by the NSAC for testing positive for marijuana—once in 2007 and again in 2012.
The failed test by Diaz has been called “scientifically unreliable” by Diaz’s attorneys. Diaz passed two tests, which were administered pre and post fight, and analyzed by the World Anti-Doping Agency accredited Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory. The third test was administered between the aforementioned tests and analyzed by Quest Diagnostics. Here, Diaz’s name appeared on the sample where it is supposed to be unidentifiable to labs, and the box indicating whether or not the test was observed by a collector remained unchecked.
The decision by NSAC is being scrutinized from a multitude of angles, including from fellow UFC fighters, sports analysts and the medical marijuana community. Diaz’s attorney, Lucas Middlebrook, was overwhelmingly clear regarding the audacious nature of the decision, stating:
I think it was a completely arbitrary and capricious decision. You heard my opening statement. Based on the facts, if they were to make such a decision, it would be ripe for judicial review. This was a kangaroo court and you heard the commission: Their decision wasn’t based on fact. It wasn’t based on evidence. – Lucas Middlebrook – Attorney
Middlebrook also shed light on the apparent personal nature of the decision, citing the words of one of the commissioners. “Your attorneys were very persuasive, but you don’t respect us. So here’s a five year ban.”
With the results of the test falling under such suspicion and the egregious punishment handed down, Diaz’s lawyers plan to appeal the ruling. Given the well-known therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana for treating issues such as chronic pain, Diaz has already won in the courts of common sense.