Marijuana infractions cost MMA vet Nick Diaz three years of his professional MMA career. Were it not for public outcry, it might have been more than six.
But if an upcoming “regulation project” is successful, he’ll never run afoul of the Nevada State Athletic Commission again. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the UFC’s anti-doping partner, is another story.
The NSAC on Tuesday announced it will discuss the possibility of revising its statutes to remove cannabinoids, or marijuana, from its list of prohibited substances and methods, effectively legalizing the drug from a commission standpoint.
The move comes two months after Nevada voters green-lighted recreational marijuana. Previously, the Silver State was among those that allowed only medical marijuana.
The possible changes to NSAC rules will be discussed during its next scheduled meeting on Friday in Las Vegas. If the commission approves the project, the change would need to undergo a vetting process, as was the case for new anti-doping measures finalized this past October after they were initially approved in May 2015.
Rolling back the marijuana ban in Nevada would not make the drug entirely legal in the eyes of USADA, which bans it in-competition – or six hours before an event’s weigh-in and six hours after a fight.
When contacted by MMAjunkie, NSAC Executive Director Bob Bennett declined to answer questions about the specifics of the proposed project, specifically whether it came about after the state legalized recreational marijuana. He said those issues will be addressed during the hearing.
If marijuana were removed as a banned substance, however, it would eliminate the source of many fighter suspensions, including the one issued to Diaz, who was flagged three times for marijuana violations.
Diaz’s first violation, following a shocking gogoplata submission over Takanori Gomi at PRIDE 33 in 2007, resulted in a six-month suspension and a $3,000. The second netted a yearlong suspension and $60,000 fine following a decision loss to Carlos Condit at UFC 143 in 2012. The third, however, lead to a major controversy.
Diaz was suspended a staggering five years and fined $165,000 after failing one test once for marijuana; he passed two other tests. The resulting outcry, which included support from celebrities, led to a settlement with the NSAC that decreased his suspension to 18 months.
Recently, Diaz (26-9 MMA, 7-6 UFC) struck a payment agreement with the NSAC that will allow him to return to competition.
Perhaps one day, Nick Diaz – and brother Nate Diaz, who’s also a cannabis supporter – won’t have to worry about going in front of NSAC commissioners afterward.
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