Update: NSAC approve Nick Diaz settlement

Picture via Twitter: Nick Diaz (left) alongside Brother Nate Diaz (right). On January 12th the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) is scheduled for a 9am-1pm (PST) Commission Meeting in Las Vegas where it is anticipated that the controversial ban of UFC veteran Nick Diaz will be reviewed and potentially altered. UPDATE: At approximately 9:30am (PST) on January 12th the NSAC moved to the second item of the meeting’s agenda and the commission quickly dealt a unanimous decision to approve the proposed settlement with Diaz before moving on. The commission did not disclose details of the settlement, however present sources are indicating that the fighter’s original sentence was reduced down to an 18 month suspension from the date of UFC 183, in addition to a reduced fine of $100,000. It’s now understood that Diaz will be eligible to compete from August 1st. Diaz’ initial five year suspension and $165,000 fine for use of marijuana was met with significant backlash from both fans and fighters alike. The outcry even provoked a White House petition which accumulated 115,000 signatures andreceived official acknowledgement but was not acted upon by U.S. federal government who “play no role in the disciplinary actions taken by state athletic commissions.” The former Strikeforce champion holds a medicinal marijuana card in California, adding weight to the notion that he should not be penalized for use of the medicinal substance. However, its medicinal usage is not currently recognized by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA). Diaz failed a drug test following his January 31st bout with former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who himself was handed a one year suspension for steroid use in relation to the same fight. Diaz has previously revealed via social media that talks with the NSAC had been positive, and it’s believed that reconsideration is high on the commission’s agenda ahead of Tuesday’s meeting. On October 28th, 2015, Inside MMA Legal Correspondent Amy Dardashtian indicated that a best case scenario could see the 32-year-old back in competition during the Summer. In September of 2015 IMMAF.org discussed Diaz’ ban with IMMAF anti-doping consultant, Michele Verroken of Sporting Integrity, who explained WADA’s reasoning behind marijuana’s status in sport. Verroken added that Diaz’ previous history of failing drug tests due to marijuana usage could be the reason for such heavy punishment, and added that he may even have been fortunate to escape a harsher sanction, when referencing the WADA code. “Firstly, with respect to marijuana, its inclusion on the WADA prohibited list is controversial. On so many occasions the question about its impact on performance has been questioned. A substance is added to the list if it meets 2 of 3 criteria: · Ability to or actual potential to enhance performance · Ability to or actual potential to harm health · Contravenes the spirit of sport. “Marijuana is regarded as meeting at least the last two criteria.  This is a possibility for some sports, in relaxing an athlete and improving their capacity to perform dangerous/tense tasks (ski jumping, darts, motor racing, shooting), often with potential to cause danger to others. Due to objection, WADA actually revised its approach during 2013 and raised the laboratory reporting level from 15ng/ml to 150 ng/ml, thereby picking up only ‘on the day of testing’ use. Testing of marijuana is likewise focussed on competition time tests. So the argument that an athlete under the influence of marijuana might endanger others could be applied,  and that testing protects other participants if it is discovered or dissuades its use.” “The sanction is rather severe. I can only presume that the athlete’s previous doping history is what led the decision to penalise beyond the usual WADA Code sanction for marijuana. One might say that the NSAC has been lenient as WADA Code sanctions for a third offence would always be a life ban unless elimination or reduction clauses applied (no fault or negligence). If this reduction applied it would be 8 years.”

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