Nick Diaz will be back in the cage fighting sooner than expected. After the Nevada State Athletic Commission fined him $160,000 and suspended him from competition for five years in September over a sketchy marijuana drug test, the Internet rose up in anger to defend the controversial athlete. The NSAC’s phones rung off the hook. Emails flooded their office. People were angrily demanding the heads of those responsible.
On Tuesday, the NSAC overturned their original sentence and instead fined Diaz $100,000 and suspended him for 18 months, making him eligible to fight again in August of 2016. The whole thing was a result of several months’ negotiations between the commission, Nick Diaz’s lawyers, and the UFC’s lawyers at Campbell & Williams. According to Inside MMA, Nevada’s General Council pushed the commission to come to a settlement in order to avoid a lawsuit that would have cost the state a lot of money.
The NSAC never had a strong case — two of Diaz’s three tests on fight day came back clean, while a third sent to another lab turned up a massive amount of marijuana metabolites. For some reason, though, that test’s B sample was never retested. Against protocol, that sample also listed Diaz’s name and was missing an important checkmark on its paperwork declaring an inspector had watched the sample be collected. According to freshly laid out guidelines, a third offense for marijuana should have only resulted in a three year ban, yet the commission handed out a five year ban unanimously.
None of these inconsistencies or problems were addressed by the commission today when they sat down for their monthly meeting and unceremoniously voted unanimously on the new settlement. But the important thing is Diaz will soon be free to make a living, corner his brother, and fight in the UFC once again.