5 YRS AGO: Nick Diaz tests positive for marijuana, out of fight with Carlos Condit, White and Fertitta comment, analysis of situation

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch editor-in-chief

Nick Diaz (photo credit Jayne Kamin-Oncea © USA Today Sports)

Ten years ago this week, the news broke that Nick Diaz tested positive for marijuana and was thus removed from his highly anticipated fight against Carlos Condit at UFC 143. The following are several stories MMATorch published starting with the initial news story, Dana White’s comments, Jamie Penick’s editorial, and Lorenzo Fertitta’s comments afterward about Diaz’s future.

BREAKING: Nick Diaz tests positive for marijuana out of Carlos Condit fight, faces disciplinary action from NSAC

For the second time in his MMA career, Nick Diaz has tested positive for marijuana out of a fight in the state of Nevada. Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer revealed on Thursday that Diaz failed his drug test for the fight against Carlos Condit last weekend at UFC 143, testing positive for marijuana metabolites.

A complaint for disciplinary action has been filed against Diaz, and his ultimate punishment will be handed out in the coming weeks.

There had been talk this week that a Condit-Diaz rematch would happen, but on Wednesday it was reported that the fight was off before getting signed. The fight was said to be off because something came up in Diaz’s camp that rendered him “unable to compete.” Now we know why.

Had Diaz defeated Condit on Saturday night, the bout would have been overturned to a no contest. The same thing happened to him back in February of 2007, when he submitted Takanori Gomi by gogoplata at Pride 33 in Las Vegas, only to test positive for marijuana in his system. That led to a six month suspension at the time. This second test could lead to a stiffer penalty, though the exact punishment for this infraction has not yet been determined.

Diaz also ran into an issue with the California State Athletic Commission in the summer of 2009. He was scheduled to take on Jay Hieron on the card that would end up being headlined by Gina Carano vs. Cris “Cyborg”, but when he was asked to take a random drug test he did not show up, and was unable to get licensed for the event. He did not show up because he knew he would test positive for marijuana, and he has stated many times that it’s something he would not be giving up.

After the loss on Saturday, Diaz stated that he would be retiring from MMA. A rematch with Condit would have pulled him out of that quickly, but if this positive test results in a lengthy suspension, retirement may possibly be in the cards for him.

Penick’s Analysis: It’s disappointing on a number of levels that we’re in this spot. It’s not necessarily surprising, because Diaz has made it no secret that he smokes and would continue to smoke pot, but for one of the biggest fights of his career it’s still immensely disappointing that he couldn’t control himself on this leading up to the fight. Now, marijuana is in no way a performance enhancing substance, even though the commission rules essentially consider it so, but it is a substance that is banned for competition, and Diaz knows this first hand because he was suspended for it before. Had he defeated Condit, we still wouldn’t be getting the Diaz-GSP fight because of this, and it wouldn’t have counted as a win at all anyway.

It’s just disappointing that he hasn’t seemed to learn from past mistakes, and now that he’s out a significant amount of time anyway, the chance of him calling it quits for real could be higher. My guess is we’ll see him come back after his suspension is up, because he’ll have a desire to compete, but who knows if the UFC will want to risk putting him in a truly high profile spot. I mean, can you imagine if he had fought St-Pierre, captured the title, and then tested positive? He’d have to be stripped of the belt and the UFC would be in a really bad spot. As it stands, it’s just on him right now, and maybe this time he’ll learn from the consequences handed down.

Dana White comments on Nick Diaz’s failed drug test from UFC 143

Nick Diaz’s positive test for marijuana following a loss to Carlos Condit at UFC 143 has taken a potential rematch with Condit off the table. Diaz will face a suspension and fine from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, though the ultimate punishment hasn’t yet been revealed.

However, the news of his positive test has already garnered plenty of reaction from fans and media, and now UFC President Dana White has issued a brief statement in response.

“I am beyond disappointed that he tested positive for marijuana,” White said. “It is now in the hands of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.”

Diaz could be facing a significant suspension and fine because he’s a repeat offender. Just this year, the NSAC suspended boxer Matt Vanda for one year and fined him 40 percent of his purse after a second positive test for marijuana.

Penick’s Analysis: Diaz’s standing with the UFC could be irreparably harmed by this positive test. They probably won’t cut him, because it didn’t take him out of a fight the day of like Nate Marquardt, and he didn’t win the fight against Condit so they don’t have to strip him of a title. However, if he tested positive in what was the biggest fight of his career thus far with a shot at GSP, it’s going to be hard for them to trust putting him into another major fight with a title on the line with the potential he could do the same thing again.

PENICK’S BLOG: Thoughts on Nick Diaz’s drug test failure out of UFC 143

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.

Nick Diaz “will be back” in the UFC, says UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta

Nick Diaz’s future in the UFC was briefly put into question on Thursday with the news that he had failed his pre-fight drug test for last weekend’s UFC 143 event.

Diaz tested positive for marijuana metabolites, and is on a temporary suspension until a preliminary hearing at the NSAC’s April meeting. At that hearing, Diaz can address the positive drug test and attempt to get a reduction in his suspension and/or eventual fine.

With recent precedent, it’s likely that Diaz will receive a suspension of at least a year for being a second time offender (he tested positive in Nevada in 2007), as well as a significant fine. However, this situation will not cost him his spot in the UFC should he decide not to simply retire.

UFC owner and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta addressed Diaz’s situation on Twitter early this morning while answering questions to fans during an insomnia-induced run on the social networking site.

“He will be back,” Fertitta wrote. “[I] really like the kid [he] just needs to get it together. I’m a sap for real fighters.”

Penick’s Analysis: I’m not surprised that they’d keep him on the roster, and if he decides not to retire he’ll get a fight in 2013. The difference for his situation right now is the fact that he lost the fight against Condit. Had he won, and gotten the fight with Georges St-Pierre set up, this could have been an even bigger deal to the UFC as they’d have had to strip him of the title and he’d have taken out a potential challenger to the belt. As it stands, he only cost them a rematch with Condit which, while it would have been interesting, wouldn’t have been nearly as lucrative. He also didn’t get stopped from going through with Saturday’s fight, so he didn’t cost them money immediately in the same sense that Nate Marquardt did last summer. Still, even if he returns, it may be hard for the UFC to put him into a really high profile fight if he doesn’t learn from this second positive test in Nevada.

NOW CHECK OUT THIS PREVIOUS FLASHBACK: 4 YRS AGO – ROUNDTABLE: How close is Demian Maia to a title shot after UFC 156 win over Jon Fitch?

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