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UFC fighter Nick Diaz was suspended five years by the Nevada State Athletic Comission in a shocking Monday ruling stemming from a failed drug test for marijuana metabolites back in January.
NAC chairman Francisco Aguilar and commission members Skip Avansino, Pat Lundvall and Anthony A. Marnell III voted unanimously to suspend the 32-year-old five years and fine him 33 percent of the $500,000 he made for his UFC 183 bout against Anderson Silva.
Diaz will be 37 before he will be eligible to fight again.
If you think that sounds a little extreme, it wasn't even the harshest punishment offered during the hearing. Pat Lundvall initially suggested a lifetime ban.
"Well, five years is a lifetime for him," Avansino said during deliberations.
With that, Lundvall acquiesced and acknowledged that such a long suspension would essentially be the end of Diaz’s professional career, and the ruling was handed down.
Diaz's attorney, Lucas Middlebrook, argued that of the three fight-night tests Diaz submitted, two of them came back negative. The two negative samples came from the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL), a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-accredited laboratory.
The lone positive test came from Quest laboratories – a non-WADA certified laboratory.
However, the commission was not concerned with the two negative tests. They explained that Quest was a time-tested standard for their commission, and that they didn’t have the funds to implement WADA-accredited laboratories at all times.
“I think we do have a positive test today,” Aguilar said. “It’s not up to the standard as many would judge professional elite athletes and the WADA standard, but it is a standard we have employed and we have utilized throughout time. And I think we will continue to do so.”
The commission also cited Diaz’s lack of testimony at today’s hearing – he pleaded the Fifth Amendment to all commission questions – his repeat-offender status for marijuana, and his “little games” in alleged diluted samples, as justification for the half-decade exile.
Diaz will also not be allowed to corner teammates, or attend fights in the state of Nevada during his suspension.
Oddly, the NAC went against their own punishment guidelines outlined just four months ago for 'opiate/sedative' use: "
Tier 1: Sedatives, Muscle relaxants, Sleep aids, Anxiolytics, Opiates, Cannabis
• 1st offense: 18-month suspension, fine of 30-40% of fighter's purse
• 2nd offense: 24-month suspension, fine of 40-50% of fighter's purse
• 3rd offense: 36-month suspension, fine of 60-75% of fighter's purse
• 4th offense: Lifetime suspension, fine of 100% of fighter's purse
Apparently, Diaz really rubbed the NAC the wrong way.