Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
A temporary suspension of Nick Diaz's fighter license was issued during a Wednesday meeting of the Nevada state athletic commission, stemming from the positive drug sample he produced during the weekend of UFC 143.
The suspension was requested by Nevada deputy attorney general Christopher Eccles, and unanimously approved by the commission until a follow-up disciplinary meeting can be scheduled. At that hearing, Diaz will have the opportunity to present a defense. He was not present at Wednesday's meeting.
When he does sit before the commission, he will likely have to answer not only for his recent drug screening failure which saw him test positive for marijuana metabolites, but also for a previous failed screening back in February 2007, also for marijuana. At that time, he was suspended for six months and fined 20 percent of his purse.
During Wednesday's meeting, commission chairman Skip Avansino requested notes and minutes from the 2007 Nevada matter, as well as any related disciplinary information from other states in preparation of Diaz's upcoming hearing.
The stage was also set for a possible defense that could include a retroactive request for a medical marijuana exemption, as Eccles noted a belief that "the question will come up" given Diaz's personal license for medical use in California.
NSAC executive director Keith Kizer recently told MMA Fighting that no fighter had ever applied for a medial marijuana therapeutic use exemption, but that the commission would take the same steps as normal when considering the request.
In addition to as much as a one-year suspension, Diaz faces the possibility of a financial fine, as the commission asked to receive "full data" on his purse as well as any bonuses earned for his participation at UFC 143. Diaz earned a salary of $200,000 for the bout -- a unanimous decision loss to Carlos Condit -- but likely received undisclosed bonuses that may also be affected.
Diaz has hired Las Vegas attorney Ross Goodman to defend him during the upcoming hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
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