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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has an important hearing for UFC heavyweight Alistair Overeem at their next meeting on April 24, but they may also be hearing the Nick Diaz case at that meeting as well. If not, Diaz's attorney argues that their suspension of his client is no longer valid.
In a letter sent to the NSAC on Friday, Diaz's attorney Ross Goodman gave the NSAC an ultimatum regarding the April 24 hearing. Goodman points out that Nevada there is a statute in Nevada law requiring the NSAC to hear a case and make a final determination on an initial summary suspension within 45 days of its issuance, unless both parties agree in writing to extend beyond that.
As Diaz's suspension was handed down on February 22, that 45 day mark was hit on April 6. Goodman contends that the NSAC had informed he and Diaz that the issue would be handled during their April meeting, so they agreed to a delay beyond that 45-day mark. However, as they have not yet been official put on the agenda for the meeting, Goodman says Diaz will not accept any further delays.
Additionally, Goodman argues that if the NSAC does not hear Diaz's case on the April 24 meeting, then they will be giving up their complaint against him, and will have no further right to move forward with the suspension.
"We presume that the NSAC will comply with its statutory obligation to have this matter heard on April 24th, 2012," the letter read. "If not, my client takes the position that the NSAC has by virtue of its delay irrevocably elected to discontinue or abandon its complaint against Mr. Diaz. The NSAC has no authority to hear or determine the complaint at a later date, and any such purported hearing or determination of the complaint would be ultra vires the NSAC's statutory powers."
Goodman has asked the NSAC to respond no later than Monday afternoon at 4PM PT.
Penick's Analysis: This is another interesting wrinkle to the situation. Diaz and Goodman both believe they've got a very reasonable case to say that Diaz has done nothing worthy of suspension with having marijuana metabolites in his system at UFC 143, and if this is in the NSAC's language, it's a potential way to get things cleared up more quickly for Diaz. With the ultimatum in place, the NSAC will likely put Diaz on this upcoming agenda, making it one of the bigger meetings the commission has had from a disciplinary standpoint. How the commissioners handle both Diaz and Overeem's cases is going to be a big story, and we'll see if they comply with this latest letter.
[Nick Diaz art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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