At $60,000, the bag of marijuana that furnished Nick Diaz in February has turned out to be probably the most expensive cannabis in history.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission issued Diaz a temporary suspension earlier this year after his fight with Carlos Condit, following the detection of marijuana metabolites in Diazâ€™s urine.
As the temporary suspension dragged out, relations between NSAC and the Diaz camp deteriorated as they blamed each other for the delay. Eventually Diazâ€™s attorney took NSAC to court in an attempt to gain an injunction forcing them to lift the suspension on his client.
The attorney argued that NSAC rules allowed out of competition use of marijuana; he also claimed that the presence of marijuana metabolites was not the same thing as the presence of active marijuana ingredients and that NSAC rules donâ€™t actually prohibit metabolites in the body.
But the courts didnâ€™t agree, although they did require NSAC to guarantee that Diaz would be given a hearing on a scheduled May 21 date which had previously been regarded only as prospective, given the likelihood of postponement for one reason or another.
Today was the day, and Diazâ€™s attorney gave it everything he had. But the fight was lost after three hours of wrangling, in part it has to be said because Diaz was unhelpful to his own case by giving forthright answers to questions that he either didnâ€™t understand the import of or considered ridiculous.
For example, Diaz was asked about his previous suspension for marijuana use after a fight overseen by NSAC. That occurred in 2007 and saw his win over Takanori Gomi overturned and made into a no-contest. He also got a six-month suspension.
â€śYou told the Commission at that time it was a isolated incident and it wouldn't happen again?â€ť an NSAC member asked Diaz today. When Diaz confirmed that was the case, the commissioner wondered how it was possible Diaz had tested positive in February. When did he start using marijuana again?
â€śWhen I got home,â€ť Diaz replied.
â€śSo you just told us that just to get through the hearing?â€ť said the incredulous committee member. Diazâ€™s full and frank reply? â€śYes.â€ť
At that point it was basically game over for Diaz and so it was no surprise when NSAC ruled against him at the end of the hearing. But the extent of the penalty imposed has surprised observers - the 12-month suspension was expected, given his previous suspension in 2007, but the 30 per cent fine was not.
As Diaz was paid $200,000 for his fight with Condit - albeit with pay-per-view cut on top - that translates to $60,000. It is not clear at this stage if NSAC can or will take any percentage of the pay-per-view revenue Diaz earned.
Diaz had announced after the Condit loss - a decision he bitterly protested - that he would be retiring because he felt it was one too many bad decisions he had been on the wrong end of. He has not indicated whether he will be returning to competition when the suspension is up.