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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Nick Diaz's positive test for marijuana at UFC 143 has brought out a wide variety of reactions today. The most curious response to me has been those jumping to the "should athletic commissions even test for marijuana?" campaign.
The problem with that response - and the defense of Diaz's marijuana use in this situation because he has a "legal prescription" for it in California - is that it's not at all what the issue is here. Whether you believe or not that marijuana should be decriminalized is irrelevant to the conversation.
Do I believe Nick Diaz toked up in the locker room before going to the cage on Saturday night in Las Vegas? Of course not. But even if he has a prescription to use it in his daily life, he knows what the rules are, and he knows that it's something that stays in his system that could be caught. In fact, he's outright bragged in the past about his ability to pass a drug test like this, and it's very likely that he's done just that in many of the fights where he's been tested.
That fact made him a ticking time bomb. The simple fact is that marijuana use is prohibited under the Nevada State Athletic Commission's rules, regardless of its legality for use in a fighter's everyday life. It stays in the system for quite some time, so whether Diaz smoked a month before the fight, a week before, or the day of, the drug test result isn't necessarily going to be able to make that determination.
And again, this isn't about whether or not Diaz should have a legal right to smoke marijuana. It's about him knowingly partaking in something that is already against the rules and getting caught for it. The rules have been in place, and he can't feign ignorance when he's been popped for it before.
If he doesn't want to abide by the rules set forth for the sport he's competing in, or if he simply can't abide by them, then he's not in the right profession. He won't take it that way, and him and his most ardent supporters will play the victim card in this situation, but this is a case of him not following the rules as set forth by the commission. That's the only story here. He broke the rules as written, and he'll be punished because of that fact.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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