Nick Diaz legal appeal of suspension denied, further appeal possible

Friday, December 14, 2012

Following a decision loss to Carlos Condit at UFC 143 in February, Nick Diaz tested positive for marijuana metabolites, for the second time. He was suspended for a year by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), and fined 30% of his show purse ($60,000) plus an additional 30%of his “Fight of the Night” bonus ($19,500).

In July, Diaz’ attorney Ross Goodman filed an appeal with the Nevada courts. Diaz holds a license to use medicinal marijuana in California.

Keith Kizer, executive director of the NAC, said he thought it was the first time a fighter has challenged an NSAC disciplinary ruling in a courtroom in his nearly 15 years with the commission.

As reported by MMAJunkie, the appeal was unsuccessful.

The UFC welterweight – and likely next title challenger to champion Georges St-Pierre – on Friday had his case tossed out by a Nevada judge, which means Diaz’s yearlong suspension and a total of $79,500 in fines will remain.

Diaz is eligible to apply for a new fighter’s license in Nevada on Feb. 4 when his suspension expires.

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In a statement to Sherdog, Goodman indicated that a further appeal is possible.

“Despite expressing misgivings about the vagueness and ambiguity of the Nevada Athletic Commission’s prohibition on using marijuana ‘before’ a contest, the Nevada District Court today dismissed Nick Diaz’s petition for judicial review of the athletic commission’s disciplinary order made against him earlier this year.

“Judge Kishner was obviously troubled about due process concerns engendered by the vagueness of the anti-doping rule. How long before is ‘before’ under the regulation? A day? A week? Due process requires that fighters have clear notice of what the rule is, so they can adjust their behavior accordingly. Similar serious concerns relate to the commission’s after-the-fact definitions of undefined terms on the pre-fight questionnaire — and punishing my client for failing to correctly guess how those terms would be defined.

“Frankly, if I had been filling out the questionnaire, I wouldn’t have thought that marijuana was a ‘prescription’ drug either — given that it is illegal under federal law for doctors to ‘prescribe’ marijuana. As a matter of law, a ‘physician’s statement’ is not a prescription. I will be seeking my client’s instructions to file an appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court forthwith.”

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