Diaz-Hieron in Jeopardy

By Loretta Hunt Aug 10, 2009
A welterweight championship bout between Nick Diaz and Jay Hieron could be scratched from this Saturday’s Strikeforce “Carano vs. Cyborg” at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. Diaz failed to appear for a pre-fight drug test Friday scheduled by the California State Athletic Commission to complete his re-licensing in the state, as first reported by www.f4wonline.com.

CSAC Assistant Executive Officer Bill Douglas informed Sherdog.com that the test has been re-scheduled in Los Angeles on Monday, but could not guarantee the results would be back in time to approve the bout. Diaz’s longtime trainer and manager, Cesar Gracie, is unsure that the fighter will make the appointment at all.

Gracie, who was notified by email Wednesday that Diaz would have to test last Thursday or Friday, said Diaz was caught off-guard by what he calls a change in policy. According to Gracie, former CSAC Executive Officer Armando Garcia came to an agreement with the coach and fighter over a year ago that Diaz would be tested for marijuana, as well as all other non-approved substances, only on the nights of his scheduled bouts.

Gracie said Diaz has a legal medical prescription for marijuana to treat a hyperactivity disorder. Gracie said Garcia’s arrangement with the fighter allowed the state agency to recognize the fighter’s condition and gave Diaz a two-week window to flush the drug out of his system.

“They just changed the policy and gave us two days’ notice,” said Gracie. “We don’t have any options.”

In an email to Sherdog.com Saturday, the CSAC’s Douglas wrote, “Although the ‘Compassionate Use Act’ in California protects one from criminal prosecution, it does not shield (an athlete) from administrative action. The use of marijuana is a violation of the California Code of Regulations Rule 303.

“Armando Garcia's policies and agreements became null and void with his departure from CSAC in November 2008,” continued Douglas. “In terms of agreements, this CSAC administration does not make agreements or special policies with individuals that are in direct contradiction to our own rules.”

Gracie said Diaz missed the test Friday because he was unable to travel in time from his secluded training camp in Lake Tahoe. Gracie added that there was some hesitation in taking the test as well.

“He might test positive because the time frame that he works in -- it’s starting to get risky,” said Gracie, who said Diaz stopped taking the drug two weeks out from the event date. “Then what would happen if you test positive, not only do you not fight, but you can’t apply (for a license) for a year.”

Gracie said if the commission had given warning sooner, Diaz would have complied. Gracie said he had also informed Diaz Friday night that the bout had been cancelled per an email from the CSAC to Strikeforce. Gracie said he left messages with Diaz regarding the re-scheduled test, but was unsure if Diaz had received the information as of Saturday night.

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was not initially available for comment.
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