by: JOSHUA RAMIREZ/Sports Editor
The Nevada State Athletic Commission made history earlier this month by handing down an unprecedented suspension for a violation some would call questionable.
Nick Diaz, a well known UFC fighter, made the mistake of testing positive for marijuana in 2014 before his bout with Anderson “The Spider” Sylva at UFC 183. In addition to the ridiculous suspension, Diaz also was fined close to $150,000 for the failed drug test.
Since the suspension was handed down, multiple UFC affiliates, including long-time commentator Joe Rogan and UFC woman’s champion Ronda Rousey, have come forth condemning the NSAC for punishing Diaz at all, claiming there isn’t a reason to test for marijuana because it is a non-performance enhancing substance.
Just taking this suspension at face value, I would say it’s almost sickening how much of an overreaction the punishment actually is.
Once you get a little deeper into the facts, however, it gets a little more sickening.
Diaz was tested three times on Jan. 31, the night of the bout, with “The Spider.” That’s right, THREE times. Two of the tests were conducted by a World Anti Doping Agency-accredited laboratory, one before the fight at close to 7 p.m., and the second after the fight around midnight. Diaz passed both of them.
The third test, conducted by a non-WADA accredited company, was the test that Diaz failed. However, considering the fact that the second test was given at 10:38 p.m., that would mean that Diaz would have had to smoke weed before the second test and somehow un-smoke it before the third.
Despite these facts, and the fact that the test that busted Diaz isn’t even backed by the WADA, it’s hard to understand how the NSAC could justify their decision.
But as I take a step back, it becomes a bit clearer.
Diaz is what I would call a loose cannon. He says what he feels, and sometimes it isn’t all good. It’s usually never good. This is a fighter who has made a habit of dropping F-bombs and insults at other fighters any time the chance was given. He spent his career toeing the line and sticking it to “the Man.” Diaz’s defiant attitude was on display again during his hearing with the NSAC, where he confidently invoked his fifth amendment rights repeatedly when asked any question.
So maybe the NSAC felt that they had seen enough of Nick Diaz, considering he has already been suspended twice in the past for marijuana. The thought that it would be better to go ahead and end the career of a fighter who most people would consider half-way out the door already anyway as an example could have been a possible motive for the commission. Pat Lundvall of the NCAS even suggested that Diaz be banned for life, stating that she felt he had disrespected her.
What is really going on here is a gross abuse of power, and the violation of rights. The NSAC has used its authority to rid the fighting world of an athlete they consider a nuisance.
But, on the other hand, professionalism is an important trait to have, and I can’t say I’ve seen much of it from Diaz in his public appearances. Diaz even went so far as to say that he has been kept down in the UFC, and that nobody wants him to prove he is the best fighter. But what industry wants to be represented by a foul-mouthed pot head who blames others for his short comings? It’s not a good look for a multi-million-dollar industry such as the UFC.
So yeah, the NSAC was completely out of their minds when they handed down this suspension, which will undoubtedly be overturned in court. Maybe Diaz has himself to blame for the image that he created, leading to such an emotionally-charged decision that could very well end his career.