The Nevada Athletic Commission’s year-long suspension of UFC welterweight Nick Diaz remains in place after the fighter’s petition for review in Nevada District Court was dismissed on Friday.
Diaz was also fined 30 percent of his purse after his UFC 143 unanimous decision defeat to Carlos Condit when his post-fight drug screen came back positive for marijuana metabolites. The NAC’s ruling was handed down in May but applied retroactively to the Feb. 4 fight date.
A medical marijuana patient in his home state of California, Diaz did not list marijuana as a prescribed medication he was taking on his pre-fight questionnaire, an issue that Diaz’s attorney and the NAC battled over before the commission took action. Diaz, who asserted he had stopped using marijuana eight days prior to the Condit fight, previously tested positive for marijuana following a 2007 victory over Takanori Gomi. The 29-year-old was suspended six months, and that win was changed to a no-contest.
Ross Goodman, Diaz’s Nevada attorney, released the following statement to Sherdog.com on Friday through Diaz’s legal adviser, Jonathan Tweedale:
“Despite expressing misgivings about the vagueness and ambiguity of the Nevada Athletic Commission’s prohibition on using marijuana ‘before’ a contest, the Nevada District Court today dismissed Nick Diaz’s petition for judicial review of the athletic commission’s disciplinary order made against him earlier this year.
“Judge [Joanna] Kishner was obviously troubled about due process concerns engendered by the vagueness of the anti-doping rule. How long before is ‘before’ under the regulation? A day? A week? Due process requires that fighters have clear notice of what the rule is, so they can adjust their behavior accordingly. Similar serious concerns relate to the commission’s after-the-fact definitions of undefined terms on the pre-fight questionnaire -- and punishing my client for failing to correctly guess how those terms would be defined.
“Frankly, if I had been filling out the questionnaire, I wouldn’t have thought that marijuana was a ‘prescription’ drug either -- given that it is illegal under federal law for doctors to ‘prescribe’ marijuana. As a matter of law, a ‘physician’s statement’ is not a prescription. I will be seeking my client’s instructions to file an appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court forthwith.”
Despite his loss to Condit, Diaz is rumored to be the No. 1 contender for Georges St. Pierre’s UFC welterweight crown, though the promotion has not made an official announcement. Prior to his contentious unanimous decision defeat, the southpaw had won 11 straight fights, capturing Strikeforce’s 170-pound title in 2010 before making his Octagon return last year against former two-division champ B.J. Penn. Diaz battered the smaller Penn in their UFC 137 bout, using his reach advantage to earn a unanimous verdict.