Yesterday, Nick Diaz's lawyer responded to the accusations from the Nevada State Athletic Commission that Diaz tested positive for a prohibited substance (Cannibus) after his last fight against Carlos Condit at UFC 143.
Diaz's license to fight in the state of Nevada is currently suspended by the NSAC until a disciplinary hearing can be held at a later date. Some speculate he is facing up to a year suspension if found guilty of failing the post-fight drug test.
Here are five reasons why Nick Diaz should not be disciplined by the NSAC.
Diaz's urine tested positive for an inactive metabolite of Cannibus called THC-Carboxylic Acid. The NSAC operates its drug testing using the guidelines set by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which has this to say about Cannabinoids:
Natrual (E.g. cannabis, hashish, marijuana) or synthetic delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannbimimetics [e.g. "Spice"] are prohibited.
Diaz did not test positive for natural or synthetic THC, therefore he did not violate the NSAC's drug policy.
Diaz was prescribed a Medical Marijuana License under California Proposition 215 for his ADHD. Nevada also has legalized medical Marijuana for those with a doctor's recommendation. According to the NSAC definition of a prohibited substance:
484C.080. "Prohibiited substance" defined
"Prohibited substance" means any of the following substances if the person who uses the substance has not been issued a valid prescription to use the substance and the substance is classified in schedule I or II pursuant to NRS 453.166 or 453.176 when it is used.
Since Diaz has been issued a valid prescription to use medical marijuana, his use of Cannibus "out of competition" is permitted under these guidelines.
This is an important distinction, because fighting under the influence of marijuana is prohibited under the NSAC guidelines. The fact that it was a marijuana metabolite, and not the active ingredient of marijuana, THC, that was detected in Nick Diaz's system is evidence that he was not intoxicated during the fight with Condit.
Diaz has gone on record saying that he stops smoking marijuana eight days before he competes so that it is no longer in his system. He also signed a sworn affidavit accompanying his lawyer's appeal to the NSAC that says he stopped smoking eight days before the fight.
Diaz's camp included in their appeal a signed affadivit from recognized expert-witness in forensic chemistry in Nevada, Dr. John Hiatt, which included this statement:
"In my opinion to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, the presence of 25 ng/mL of inactive metabolite in Diaz's post-fight urine sample is consistent with Diaz's protocol of discontinuing medical marijuana use eight days before a fight. Such a break in usage of marijuana would ensure that his normal usage would have no impact on Diaz's performance 'in-competition' or create a safety risk."
Performance enhancing drugs are a major concern in sports, yet the current drug tests are inept at detecting them. Cannabis, on the other hand, is much easier to detect.
The intent of the NSAC's drug policy is to make sure that athletes don't compete under the influence of marijuana is for safety and liability reasons.
However, there is no testing in place for fighters in camp, so those who choose to use steroids or abuse doctor-prescribed TRT can time it out so that when the fight rolls around the tests come up normal. Since cannabis stays in the users system longer than any other drug, it can appear in a drug test weeks and even months after initial use.
The NSAC needs to look into implementing testing that will catch athletes attempting to chemically enhance their performance leading up to a fight instead of identifying a fighter who smokes marijuana.
Why not focus on the substances that are endangering the health and longevity of the fighters?
Anyone who has seen his interviews or interacted with him in person, it is obvious that Nick Diaz has trouble concentrating and some form of social anxiety.
He had a tough time growing up, yet he doesn't get into trouble, and he is channeling his energy into something positive. He should be applauded, not persecuted.
If he were on a doctor-prescribed ADHD medication such as Ritalin or Adderall, would the athletic commission be pursuing disciplinary action?