The legal battle to establish whether UFC fighter Nick Diaz’ marijuana usage prior to UFC 143 should result in a suspension is now beginning to see more twists and turns than an episode of ‘Law And Order’.
The story so far is that Diaz tested positive for marijuana metabolites following his UFC 143 fight with Carlos Condit in February which was expected to result in a 12 month suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission. However, Diaz lawyer, Ross Goodman challenged the suspension, noting that Diaz has a license in California to legally use marijuana to combat his ADHD and that he stopped using the drug 8 days prior to the fight.
Yesterday NSAC attempted to rebuff the main thrust of Goodman’s argument by revealing that Diaz had in fact filled out a pre-fight questionnaire in which he stated that he had in fact not used any prescription medication in the fourteen day period leading up to the bout.
At first that seemed like a major blow to Diaz case, but Goodman has almost immediately come back on the offensive.
“In order for you to have a false official statement, it has to be sworn to,” Goodman tells MMAJunkie. “It has to be under oath. If you found something contradictory in an affidavit that is sworn to under penalties of perjury, then that’s where you really have a claim of false official statement. Here, you have none of that. You have a one-page, pre-printed questionnaire that was simply signed. There was no witness to attest to it, it wasn’t done under penalty of perjury, (and) it wasn’t sworn to.
The second issue, which is really the main issue, is that he was truthful in responding to that question. He didn’t take prescription medications in the last two weeks.”
Rather than being discouraged by NSAC’s reponse, Goodman instead now appears to be even more bullish about his client’s chances of emerging from this process without a lengthy suspension.
“The fact that they’re falling back now on this is significant because you would think they would respond to the stuff that we argued in the response, which I think is basically irrefutable.”
Goodman then goes one step further, essentially accusing NSAC of not knowing what they are doing.
“So what are we talking about? I don’t think the Nevada State Athletic Commission knows how to address that issue now because we brought the actual rules to light. So now I think that they’re first reaction was, ‘Well, shoot, we do have some potential issues,’ so what else can we say was wrong here? Oh, there was a pre-fight medical questionnaire that’s asking for prescription medication? That was untruthful.
“Maybe instead of attacking him and blaming him for something that’s completely ridiculous, they should have a special category (on the questionnaire) that says, ‘Are you a medical-marijuana patient?'”
So it appears that no-one is pulling any punches in this legal battle, and like Diaz fight with Condit, it looks like this one is going to go right to the bitter end before we get a decision one way or the other.