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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Nick Diaz will be addressing the Nevada State Athletic Commission regarding his positive test for marijuana metabolites, and he and his lawyer will be making several arguments in his defense.
In an interview with Sherdog.com, Diaz's manager and trainer Cesar Gracie said that, ultimately, this positive test could be a good thing, and not just for Diaz.
"It might be a good thing because will they make the Nevada State Athletic Commission explain themselves?" Gracie said. "Marijuana's like alcohol. You can't be drunk for your fight and you can't be high on marijuana for your fight. But they don't test to see if you, a month before, if you drank alcohol. Oh my God, we're going to have to fine you because you drank alcohol a month before your fight or eight days or two weeks or whatever they want to say. You can get drunk the night before your fight. You just can't get drunk the day of your fight."
"Their testing policy does not make sense, not only to the layman like you and me but also to the World Anti-Doping Agency. They don't test the way that [the NSAC does]. They don't do the metabolites, I think it's called. That just shows if you had weed in your fat cells that was stored there up to 45 days before your fight. It doesn't make sense."
After Diaz's lawyer submitted their argument, stating that Diaz was using marijuana medicinally and that testing positive for metabolites was not prohibited under WADA rules. The NSAC then fired back, calling Diaz a liar for not disclosing that he was taking any prescriptions. Gracie addressed that issue as well.
"Marijuana in Nevada is not recognized as a prescription drug," Gracie explained. "Even in California it isn't. Technically, from a legal standpoint, a doctor cannot prescribe marijuana. You can't go to a pharmacy and buy it. Therefore, technically, it's not a prescription. The way the law is, is it's a recommendation and not a prescription. So when Nick put no to prescription, that's actually factual. And we looked into that before because in previous fights he wanted to put yes, it's a prescription, but it's not a prescription.
"Why would he lie? Everyone knows he smokes marijuana. So what's he gaining from it? The L.A. Times had a piece where he said he smokes it. What's he gaining from lying? Are they saying that if he would have put he smokes marijuana, they would have said it was OK? Because they haven't approved one person. In the history of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, since it's began, it has not made one exemption for [marijuana]. So what is Nick gaining by putting no on there? They're playing this weird little game of, ‘Oh, he should have put yes here,' but they've never approved anybody on it and they weren't about to approve it this time. They're playing like a smoke-and-mirrors game. It's really odd."
The games with the commission, as well as what Diaz believes is an unfair judging system in Nevada, led to him proclaiming his retirement in the cage at UFC 143. However, whether this suspension sticks or not with the NSAC, Gracie says he's not going to let Diaz walk away that easily.
"He never thought that the judges in Nevada have liked him," Gracie said. "There's always been a bias against him. He doesn't know what he has to do to win a fight in Nevada... He thinks there are biased judges, and I would have to agree with that. There's no panel to review these judges' decisions and see if these guys should continue judging."
"He's sick of the politics, the whole marijuana thing, the judges... It's kind of a weird thing, but let's face it: I'm not going to let that guy quit. I just don't see that happening. He's too good and he's too important in this sport, I think. If it's up to me, there's no way that's going to happen."
Penick's Analysis: Diaz will be back in the cage. I've held this since he said he was retiring. Even if he gets sent out for a year with a suspension from the NSAC, he'll get the itch to come back once that year is up and he'll fight again. Obviously Gracie doesn't want to see him go anywhere, and if he has any influence on it at all, Diaz will be back in the cage. There's a tough road ahead with this NSAC hearing, but it could lead to a major change in the Commission's drug testing policies. It may not be entirely likely, but it's certainly not impossible.
[Nick Diaz art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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