15 for 15: No. 9 Nick Diaz vs. NSAC

December 25, 2015

Nick Diaz returned to the octagon in February 2015 to face Anderson Silva at UFC 183.  No one would have thought that each fighter would test positive for banned substances let alone the penalty issued Diaz.

Not surprising, but Diaz tested positive for marijuana.  Although Diaz’s lawyers pointed out inconsistencies with the testing, the commission determined that Diaz violated the commission rules.  What was surprising, the penalty issue by the commission: 5 years, $165,000 fine.  Perhaps the reason for the upheaval with the ruling was the proceedings that transpired.  Diaz, represented by lawyers, pleaded the Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself when asked questions by the commission.  Despite having lawyers on the commission, it was clear that Diaz’s lack of response irked the commission.

While the commission hearing is not considered an adversarial proceeding or a court hearing, the refusal to respond to the commission questions was likely a reason for the stiff sentence.  Moreover, the fact that the commission has yet to issue a written ruling has precluded Diaz from seeking a judicial review in court.  There has been news that UFC’s lawyers at Campbell and Williams have been negotiating a settlement with the commission to avoid further litigation.  However, that has yet come to fruition.

Its clear UFC Fight Pass played a role in the grassroots effort to reinstate Diaz.  The fact that people could watch for themselves as the hearing went on, viewers had a chance to judge for themselves what was going on instead of reading reports from the hearing.

The penalty issued Diaz set off widespread support for the fighter.  Ronda Rousey spoke publicly about the perceived unfair decision.  Henry Cejudo  and Leslie Smith vowed not to fight in the state of Nevada due to the ruling.  A White House petition was started to overturn the commission decision.  The petition drew over 108,000 signatures.  It needed 100,000 to receive a response from the White House.  Of course, the response from the White House was nothing earth-shattering as it deferred to the state of Nevada.

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