Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Nick Diaz will be forced to wait at least one more week before learning about the status of his stalled mixed martial arts career.
In a Monday hearing in Clark County (Nevada) district court, judge Rob Bare denied an injunction request that would have effectively overturned his temporary suspension by the the Nevada state athletic commission, stemming from a February drug test that was positive for marijuana metabolites.
The official minutes of the hearing will not be available until Wednesday, but Judge Bare's executive assistant Tara Duenas confirmed the ruling to MMA Fighting.
NSAC executive director Keith Kizer told MMA Fighting that Diaz's hearing with his sanctioning body would be placed on the May 21 docket.
Diaz's suit, filed on April 24 through attorney Ross Goodman, claimed that NSAC had violated his due process right to a timely hearing, a requirement that the commission will determine the outcome of any summary suspension within 45 days.
NSAC rebutted the claim, suggesting that Diaz and his manager Cesar Gracie had precipitated the delay by offering to produce a medical marijuana card, and then failed to present that documentation. (Diaz did produce a physician's statement from his doctor, Robert E. Sullivan, which said he would "benefit from the use of medical cannabis.")
In previous legal responses, Goodman has argued that NSAC has no legal authority to suspend Diaz for marijuana metabolites, saying that result suggests out-of-competition use. Under the rules of the strict World Anti-Doping Agency -- followed by most sanctioning bodies including NSAC -- out-of-competition marijuana use is not prohibited.
"We were ready, willing and able to proceed, and we held it off because his attorney asked to do so to produce the card," Kizer said. "It now appears that Mr. Diaz and Mr. Gracie were less than honest with Mr. Goodman about having the card."
Diaz was not present for the Las Vegas hearing. Through his court filing, Diaz, who has said he smokes marijuana due to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, said he stopped smoking marijuana eight days before the fight, a UFC 143 decision loss to Carlos Condit.
On May 21, he'll face the prospect of a one-year suspension.
As for NSAC, Kizer said they will take the judge's advice of putting hearing delays in formal writing to avoid any future confusion.
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