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NSAC once tried to end the career of Nick Diaz, now it no longer punishes for marijuana use

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UFC 65: Bad Intentions Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) recently passed a vote to remove cannabis use from its list of punishable offenses, according to MMA Fighting, assuming an athlete does not try to compete under the influence on fight night.

Better late than never, I suppose.

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CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLEHEADER! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to T-Mobile Arena with a pair of thrilling world championship bouts. The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 29 coaches collide when Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, defends his title against No. 2-ranked contender, Brian Ortega. UFC 266’s co-main event will see women’s Flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko go for her sixth consecutive title defense when she meets No. 3-seeded contender, Lauren Murphy. Last, and certainly not least, Nick Diaz returns against former Welterweight roost ruler, Robbie Lawler, in a five-round banger.

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“According to the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA considers marijuana to be a substance of abuse, not a performance-enhancing drug,” Executive Director Bob Bennett said on today’s call (via MMA Junkie). “I think our goal is to test for performance-enhancing drugs to ensure a level playing field. The fact that it is not a performance-enhancing drug, I do not believe we should test for it any longer.”

NSAC has been under fire for its handling of marijuana cases for several years. That includes the Nick Diaz debacle from 2015, when the commission “dorks” voted to suspend the UFC welterweight for five years while also fining him a ridiculous $165,000.

At the time it was being called a “lifetime ban” (which was eventually reduced).

“How about that! NSAC no longer sanctioning for marijuana,” UFC senior vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky wrote on Twitter. “Crazy that in my tenure with UFC I’ve seen NSAC try to suspend Nick Diaz for life for marijuana, to this. Big credit to Exec Director Bob Bennett for spearheading this change. Just don’t show up to fight impaired!”

NSAC will continue to test for cannabis for “data collection purposes.”

Unfortunately for UFC fighters Gillian Robertson and Misha Cirkunov, the ruling was not retroactive, so they will still be punished in accordance with the policies in place at the time of their positive drug tests.

Athletes competing at UFC 264 this weekend in “Sin City,” however, are in the clear.