The Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) has reduced UFC fighter Nick Diaz’s suspension to 18 months from its original sentencing of 5 years. Diaz’s original sentence, handed down in September of 2015, was due to testing positive for cannabis use stemming from his most recent UFC fight in January of 2015.
The NAC’s governing body scaled back Diaz’s sentence through a quick unanimous vote but declined to give details on the matter. In addition to the reduced suspension time, Diaz also had the size of his fine reduced, from $165,000 to $100,000.
Diaz’s initial suspension was handed down following his third test-positive for cannabis use. The ensuing public backlash in his favor brought forth an online petition that garnered 100,000 signatures, support from other fighters like Rhonda Rousey, and even a response from the White House.
A spokesperson for the NAC declined to comment on the commission’s scaling back of Diaz’s sentence, calling it “an ongoing matter.”
Diaz is eligible to return to the UFC ring on August 1, 2016. He is likely to book a fight with for the time period immediately following his renewed eligibility.
Despite what was ultimately an easing of Diaz’s sentencing, the UFC last summer imposed a strict new series of anti-drug penalties on its fighters, which included enhanced penalties for cannabis use.
photo credit: UFC
Nickolas Robert Diaz, the former mixed martial artist known as Nick Diaz, has been a professional Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor since 2001. After receiving the second longest suspension in the history of the sport, Diaz may not be permitted to compete for the UFC title for five years.
On Monday, the Nevada State Athletic Commission considered banning the fighter for life before agreeing on a five year suspension because Diaz tested positive for cannabis for the third time in his 14 year career. On top of the suspension, the fighter was fined $165,000.
As advised by his attorney, Diaz declined to answer a single question during the hearing. Instead he replied,
“Respectfully, I’m not going to answer the question. Fifth amendment.”
Although Diaz did not answer a single question during the hearing, he did speak to the media after the proceedings. When asked how he was feeling, Diaz remarked,
“I’m pretty pissed off.”
Skip Avasino, commissioner of the NSAC acknowledged that banning Diaz for five years is essentially the same as handing the 31 year old fighter a lifetime ban. Francisco Aguilar, NSAC chairman added,
“This is not just a marijuana issue. This is an issue of marijuana, a lack of being forthright, a lack of cooperation to make the sport better, a disregard for rules — it hurts other athletes just as much.”
Diaz’s lawyers are appealing the length of the suspension, but it is unclear when the issue may be settled.
photo credit: UFC