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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Nick Diaz's latest run-in with the Nevada State Athletic Commission has made him in some respects a sympathetic figure to many fans. The exorbitant fine handed down by the NSAC for his positive test for marijuana metabolites in February drew a lot of negative reaction, and there has been some merit to the arguments and distinctions his side tried to make when appealing that test results with the commission.
"During the trial with the NSAC they said, 'You didn't put this as an exemption, we got you on that, you didn't fill out the paperwork,'" Gracie commented. "I bet you anything if he fights again in Nevada he's gonna fill it out and go, 'OK, I have a legal recommendation for this, here it is all filled out.' But they change the rules on Nick every time. They'll say, 'Ah no, it's a PED (performance enhancing drug).' They'll go against the whole medical community and the world and qualify marijuana as a PED. I'm predicting they'll do that, even though he has a medical card and is allowed to legally smoke it [in California].
"They always change the rules on Nick."
Gracie then brought up a few examples as to the handling of marijuana by other commissions around the U.S., and why he thinks the NSAC's punishment shouldn't be the final word on things.
"There's some collusion to it all," Gracie argued. "Tyson Griffin tested positive for marijuana. It never came out but the UFC knew about it and he didn't get a suspension. Diego Sanchez only got a suspension in California for three months. Nevada only has jurisdiction in Nevada so technically you should be able to fight anywhere else because the rules are different in each commission."
"(Other athletic commissions) don't care. Nick could fight in Texas tomorrow. Other commissions do not respect the NSAC's decisions. Vitor Belfort fought Dan Henderson at the last PRIDE show in Nevada [actually the second to last], tested positive for steroids, got a year suspension [actually nine months] and said, 'I don't care, I'm not suspended outside of Nevada' and went to Japan and fought [actually England]. You know what, no one cared about it, the UFC didn't care about it when they signed him and he didn't get any other retribution for it. There have been many examples of this."
Because of those examples, Gracie wants the UFC to book Diaz in an international fight, and he plans to plead his case to UFC President Dana White when he meets with him on August 6.
"We want to sort out this whole situation with Nick and get him a fight oversees like other fighters have been afforded that chance," Gracie said. "Dana has said in the past the NSAC is the worst commission so we want him to put his money where his mouth is and free Nick Diaz.
"I'm gonna ask Dana White why other guys get to do it but why it's always a different rule for Nick. It doesn't make any sense. That's part of the issue Nick doesn't understand and is frustrated with. He said, 'Hey I can't win a fight with Nevada' — [Carlos] Condit runs around the whole fight and Nick gets the loss, but in the [Clay] Guida fight [where Guida backpedaled] that Dana said was a terrible fight, it was a split decision for Gray Maynard. It's always something different for Nick."
Penick's Analysis: There are so many things wrong with these comments that really hinder Gracie's point and turn thoughts on Diaz from sympathy to "oh, poor me." The rules aren't different for Nick Diaz than anyone else. He's not being targeted or treated particularly different from every other fighter. The fine from the NSAC was ridiculous, their hearing a bit of a sham, but despite that, other commissions around the country do, in fact, abide by the rulings of other commissions. Tyson Griffin was suspended by Michigan's commission when he tested positive, it was simply never announced and he served it quietly. Belfort wasn't with the UFC and was on his own when he went back overseas and fought, and it would have been a commission issue to deal with when he returned to the US if they had an issue with that. The UFC isn't going to actively book a fighter who is under a commission suspension; as White says all the time, they're "regulated by the government." White will point to that and wash his hands clean of the situation, telling Gracie there isn't anything he can do about it. As to the continued discussion of Carlos Condit, then bringing the Clay Guida fight into the mix, we've gone through it: Condit landed more strikes than Diaz, and three times as many as Guida. The fights were not the same; the rules were not different. Playing the constant victim card for Diaz isn't going to do him any good, and indeed it will wind up turning people against him more than anything.
[Nick Diaz art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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