Nick Diaz may find out tomorrow what sentence he faces for failing a drug test at UFC 143.
The former Strikeforce champion tested positive for marijuana during tests administered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which was overseeing the event. According to a friend of the Diaz camp, he is on the agenda for a meeting of the NSAC board tomorrow.
Having previously tested positive for marijuana once before under Nevada’s auspices, Diaz faces a longer ban than the six months imposed following the 2007 instance.
However, the scale of his transgression is not yet known. Nevada, like most athletic commissions, allows a level of 50mg of marijuana traces in the bloodstream. That is considered ‘out of season’ use which would not directly affect the fight.
The fact that he was flagged up for a failed test suggests he has posted a higher number than 50, but the exact figure has not been released by NSAC. It will most likely be brought up in tomorrow’s meeting, as will his sentence or recommended sanction.
The meeting will take place at 9am Las Vegas time and will be chaired by NSAC’s executive director Keith Kizer. The main purpose of the meeting - at least, the one listed on the NSAC website - is to discuss possible changes to the rules used for MMA competitions in the state.
NSAC has been soliciting suggestions from the public all month and will be discussing the most popular of these tomorrow. If any are enacted, the unified rules will be altered accordingly and the MMA game will change to some degree - in Nevada at least, although other athletic commissions usually take their pointers from NSAC and could be expected to copy the changes.
One change we are not likely to see is knees to the head of a downed opponent, such as someone who has shot for a takedown but subsequently been sprawled upon. At present these positions often result in a stalemate but under rules that allow knees to the head, the fighter in top position has a significant advantage.
Fans would dearly love to see knees to a downed opponent allowed but it is thought to be unpalatable to the wider sports community and so the athletic commission, overseeing a sport which already has significant stigma attached, is unlikely to risk creating a political furore by allowing their use.