Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) mixed martial artist (MMA) and medical marijuana patient Nick Diaz was temporarily suspended after testing positive for chemical compounds found in marijuana following his UFC 143 bout on February 4. 

 

The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) handed down Diaz’s suspension after the 28-year-old flunked a post-fight urinalysis upon losing the UFC Interim Welterweight Championship in a five-round battle to Carlos Condit, whom the three judges unanimously declared the victor. The loss dropped Diaz’s career UFC record to 26-8-0. 

 

Diaz is a “Cesar Gracie” black belt (regarded as a very prestigious achievement) and his long limbs make him an above-average boxer. He holds the distinction of never having been “submitted” during a match.

 

Diaz was popped for a positive THC test for the second time in his UFC career; the first following a 2007 Pride FC clash in which Diaz was triumphant. But that positive test in ’07 reduced the decision to a no-contest and Diaz was suspended for six months and fined a substantial 20 percent of his purse. 

 

Complicating this matter is Diaz being a medical marijuana patient in California, where he is legally able to consume pot, but does not have the same rights in Nevada – but if he doesn’t use that particular medicine in Nevada, should he be penalized for a positive urine test?  One MMA devotee interviewed off the record said that while Diaz is no “lazy stoner” and that he participates in “Ironman” triathlons, it is well known in MMA circles that he’s a pot smoker. And while no professional would likely smoke prior to an actual match, many MMA fighters get high before they “roll” (practicing Jiu Jitsu with a partner) in order to better relax while sparring. For some, rolling while stoned opens them up to new ideas or strategies they might not have considered while sober. For the record, Diaz has dismissed the notion he uses pot as a performance-enhancing drug.

 

Diaz now must appear at a yet-to-be-scheduled disciplinary hearing with the NSAC to determine his fate. MMA website sherdog.com suggested Diaz could theoretically apply for a ”therapeutic use exemption” with the NSAC. Such a request involving medicinal cannabis would be unprecedented, but perhaps worth a shot to Diaz, who’d likely prefer a chance at capturing the UFC welterweight crown rather than riding out another suspension away from the Octagon (the UFC version of a boxing ring).

 

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