Today the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) received a ruling in their favor when Nevada District Court judge, Rob Bare ruled that Nick Diaz would not be reinstated to fight and that the NSAC could still hold their disciplinary hearing next Monday to decide the length of Nick Diaz’s suspension.
Diaz’s attorney, Ross Goodman presented the case against the NSAC on behalf of Diaz, which attempted to lift the suspension the NSAC had handed down to Diaz after he tested positive for marijuana metabolites after his loss to Carlos Condit for the UFC Interim Welterweight title on February 4th, 2012. If he had succeeded, Nick Diaz could have returned to fighting within the State of Nevada right away.
Judge Bare who ruled on the case, determined that February 22nd was the official day that Diaz’s suspension began. The reason the judge used that day as the effective date of the suspension, and not February 9th (the day Diaz tested positive for marijuana metabolites), was because Diaz was supposed to be heard on that day initially by the NSAC. Therefore, the judge explained that February 22nd was the first official day the NSAC as a whole recognized the Diaz suspension.
However, the judge did explain to the NSAC that they did fail to process Diaz’s case within 45 days from the suspension date and violated the state statute by doing so. The judge also added that he didn’t feel that there was enough evidence to prove whether or not the NSAC, or Nick Diaz, had tried to reschedule a disciplinary hearing for a future date. Judge Bare explained, both parties would have to agree in writing to extend hearing dates. Since that was not done, Bare advised that the NSAC keep the scheduled May 21st disciplinary hearing date, and be more cautious going forward as to how they handle requests for extensions.
According to NSAC Executive Director, Keith Kizer who was a witness for the defense, the NSAC wanted to grant Diaz more time to be able to produce his medical marijuana card in order to give him a fair hearing and requested that he present it to them prior to setting a date. Because Diaz never produced the card to the commission, they argued that was their reason for not being able to swiftly reschedule a date for Diaz to be heard.
In an exclusive interview with Kizer following the hearing, he said he does feel this was a big win for the commission and explained why they had set Diaz’s hearing beyond the 45 day period. “We want to get these things resolved for the fairness of the athlete, as well for the fairness of the fans for the sport. I’m not sure again why there’s all this confusion here. We were waiting for the card. I think its quite clear here that Mr. Diaz and Mr. Gracie were less than honest with Mr. Goodman about the card. I don’t blame Ross for that.”
Being that this is second time Diaz has tested positive within the State of Nevada, Kizer thinks that may have some bearing on how long Diaz may be suspended.
Kizer also said that Diaz’s case could have set a precedent as to how extensions for hearings of suspended fighters are handled in the future. It was argued in the case today, that the NSAC did not formally write out anything to Diaz’s camp that spoke of extending his hearing date, and Judge Bare did acknowledge their failure to hear Diaz within 45 days. Kizer said, “We disagree with the judges comment that the 45 days ran. But nonetheless, it’s better to be safe than sorry. We can definitely do that in the future.”
When asked if he thought Diaz’s positive test for marijuana metabolites posed any threat to public safety as was stated in court, Kizer stated, “Any fighter fighting under the influence of drugs in his system is disturbing and something [the NSAC takes] very seriously. Whether you want to argue whether or not marijuana should be on the approved substance list is not the issue here. It is on the substance list. He knew that. Why he was less than honest in our opinion on his medical questionnaire, I think is obvious; but that’s something he’ll have to address. But fighting with it in your system is obviously a violation and well address that too.”