UFC middleweight fighter Nick Diaz has been banned for five years and fined $165,000 after testing positive for marijuana for the third time in his career.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission considered a life ban, but voted unanimously on a five-year suspension, one that NSAC commissioner Skip Avansino conceded is in effect a lifetime ban for the 32-year-old Diaz.
Diaz's third failed test came after he tested positive for marijuana metabolites following his defeat to Anderson Silva at UFC 183 in January. The American passed two tests on the night, but failed a third.
The failed test was collected and analyzed under different methods to the other two, which were conducted either side of the failed test. It was this irregularity that formed the basis of Diaz's defence.
"I think it was a completely arbitrary and capricious decision," Diaz's lawyer, Lucas Middlebrook, said. "You heard my opening statement. Based on the facts, if they were to make such a decision, it would be ripe for judicial review. This was a kangaroo court and you heard the commission: their decision wasn't based on fact. It wasn't based on evidence.
"One commissioner said, 'Your attorneys were very persuasive, but you don't respect us. So, here's a five-year ban.' "
Diaz, who had refused to answer questions during the hearing, spoke to the media after the decision was announced.
"I'm pretty pissed," he said. "I got into this sport for this exact reason, being stuck in a room with people like that."
"I wanted to tell them what I think. I wanted to tell each and every one of them they're a bunch of dorks. Everybody who sees them or knows who they are, should tell them that. I would. If it weren't for my experts advising me to keep my mouth shut. I wanted to get up and say, 'Look. You guys are way the f— out of line.' "
Diaz's first two failed tests were in 2007 when he tested positive for THC and in 2012 when he tested positive for marijuana metabolites. He was handed six-month and one-year bans for the respective offenses.