An MMA Thanksgiving: 2016 All-Turkey Team

Kangaroo Court

By Staff Nov 24, 2016

Nevada Athletic Commission

It’s two years running that the Nevada Athletic Commission has made this list of Thanksgiving disgrace, probably to no one’s surprise. In fact, the exploits that put the world’s most powerful athletic commission on the turkey squad in 2015 bled into 2016 and ultimately served as a springboard into further farcical lunacy this year.

When Nick Diaz was fined $165,000 and suspended from competition for five years in September 2015, the MMA world was outraged. The NAC could not definitively prove Diaz had tested positive, based on the fact that Diaz passed his first and third tests on the night of UFC 183 and his second, failed sample was sent to a lab not accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency. After the horror show that was watching commissioner Pat Lundvall attempt to strip Diaz of his Fifth Amendment rights, it seemed like a victory when, in January, Diaz’s penalty was reduced to a $10,000 fine and an 18-month suspension retroactive to UFC 183. However, this could only possibly be considered a victory because the NAC’s original decorum and prescription of punishment was so insane.

Also at that January meeting, the NAC unnecessarily delayed Wanderlei Silva’s hearing -- it was related to his dashing out of a drug test in 2014, when he was slated to fight Chael Sonnen at UFC 175 -- one more time before finally giving him an overdue and obvious punishment in February. As the year rolled on, the NAC’s Keystone Kops antics found a larger audience when the commission’s meetings began streaming on UFC Fight Pass, in a move that only seemed to embolden its highly performative, theatrical and often downright silly commissioners.

At the NAC’s Oct. 10 meeting, UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor phoned in for a hearing regarding his Aug. 17 bottle-throwing incident with Nate Diaz ahead of UFC 202. What followed was the commission at its most surreal and stupid: the Nevada Attorney General had suggested a $25,000 fine, 25 days of community service and the positively silly five hours of “media training” for McGregor. However, the fine Nevada commissioners wound up giving McGregor a $150,000 fine and 50 hours of community service while conscripting him into a public service announcement. This was after commissioners Lundvall and Michon Martin argued for a $300,000 fine. The instant criticism and mockery was severe enough that the NAC ret-conned its own punishment narrative, with NAC Executive Director Bob Bennett announcing six days later that McGregor was in fact receiving a $75,000 fine and that the other $75,000 was actually the estimated value of his forced future PSA.

Three weeks after the McGregor debacle, fittingly on Oct. 31, senior NAC interrogator-browbeater Lundvall served the last day of her third three-year term on the commission and would not be reappointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval. As it often does with the NAC, it seemed like a victory. Then, Sandoval announced Lundvall’s replacement, ophthalmologist and accused person blinder Dr. James Daniel Carpenter, a.k.a. this ghoul, a fitting new commissioner for a political outfit where every day is Halloween.

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