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Nick Diaz suspended for one year by NSAC

ESPN staff
May 22, 2012
Nick Diaz's suspension dates back to February 4 © Getty Images

Nick Diaz has been suspended for one year by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for testing positive for marijuana metabolites following an interim welterweight title fight against Carlos Condit at UFC 143 on February 4.

It is Diaz's second marijuana-related offence. In 2007, the NSAC suspended the martial artist for six months after he tested positive for the active ingredient in the drug, THC, following a win over Takanori Gomi in Las Vegas. That result was later changed to a no-contest.

The suspension is dated retroactively to February 4. Additionally, Diaz will be fined 30 per cent of his $200,000 fight purse. He left the room quickly once the verdict was reached.

During the hearing, Diaz's attorney Ross Goodman argued the suspension was unjust as the positive test showed inactive metabolites and not the parent drug.

While marijuana metabolites are a byproduct of the drug, marijuana is not an out-of-competition banned substance by the NSAC. Diaz, who said he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder at a young age, is a registered medical marijuana user in California, the state in which he resides.

Goodman stated because the commission tests for inactive metabolites, which are not explicitly listed as a banned substance, it had no ground to suspend Diaz.

At the end of a four-hour hearing, NSAC chairman Raymond Avansino and the rest of the commission disagreed. "It's been a long day," Avansino said. "I think that the standard test we use in Nevada is not likely to be changed in the future. We test for marijuana metabolites. That's the manner we formally test. We are obligated to adhere to our standards."

Monday's hearing brings an end to a long legal conflict that's been ongoing between the Nevada commission and Diaz. Following the unanimous decision loss to Condit in February, Diaz submitted a urine test that contained 25 nanograms of marijuana metabolites. The NSAC regards anything above 15 nanograms as a positive test.

The Nevada commission temporarily suspended Diaz based on the positive test. On March 7, Goodman filed a response challenging the suspension. The Nevada commission fired back days later, stating Diaz purposefully "lied" on a prefight questionnaire, which asks if a fighter is taking prescribed medication.

On April 26, Diaz filed a lawsuit against the NSAC, requesting the suspension be lifted because the commission had not dealt with the issue within the due process time of 45 days. Judge Rob Bare shot down that injunction in May, which resulted in Monday's disciplinary hearing.

Diaz, 28, vacated the Strikeforce welterweight title in 2011 to accept a fight against UFC champion Georges St-Pierre. Due to a set of circumstances, including an injury to St-Pierre, the fight has yet to materialise.

This article first appeared on ESPN.com

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