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[UPDATED] NSAC Head Says Diaz Could Have Applied for Therapeutic Use Exemption for Marijuana

By Elias Cepeda

(“Where I come from, asking a guy if he’s on drugs will get you slapped, homie.”)

UFC welterweight Nick Diaz and his most recent positive test for marijuana after competing against Carlos Condit at UFC 143 in Las Vegas, may present Nevada with a first of its kind disciplinary situation, according to Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) Executive Director Keith Kizer.  Diaz is a resident of California, where medical marijuana has been legal since 2003, and the fighter has said that he has been prescribed marijuana by doctors to treat psychological issues.

He has also stated in the past that he attempts to flush traces of cannabis out of his system in the weeks leading up to his fights in order to pass drug tests. However Diaz’s most recent positive test result for for the drug, which scrapped a planned immediate rematch with Condit, is the second such one in less than five years.

According to Kizer, though, Diaz had another option: coming to the NSAC weeks before fighting and applying for a therapeutic exemption (TUE) for his marijuana use.

Given that Diaz’ coach and manager, Cesar Gracie, has made a point of saying that Diaz has a legal right to use marijuana in California since a doctor prescribed it to him, one would have expected Diaz to have applied for the exemption with the commission.

But that did not happen Kizer explains, as no one from Diaz’ camp has ever attempted to explain any mitigating circumstances to him about the fighter’s marijuana use or tried to contextualize it to attempt for Nick to granted a therapeutic exemption. “I have no idea what [Diaz’s] marijuana situation is,” Kizer told CagePotato on Thursday. “No one from his camp has ever come to me or the commission and tried to explain it.”

Kizer says that therapeutic exemptions are made when fighters and their doctors can convince the NSAC and its physicians that a prescribed treatment is specifically needed to address a legitimate health issue of the athlete and that the medication does not put the fighter at undue risk as a competitor or give them an unfair advantage over their opponents. Sometimes, as in the case of some antidepressants, the NSAC and its doctors feel that a fighter’s condition is legitimate and that they do require treatment, but alternative medications are needed because the one initially chosen by the fighter and their doctors are deemed not safe for competitors to use by the Nevada commission.

Kizer also points out that each case is looked at individually and that if fighters approach the commission a few weeks before their fights to request a therapeutic exemption, typically that is enough time for the NSAC evaluation process to take place and for his governing body to make a decision on whether or not to grant the fighter the exception.

In the past fighters have applied for exemptions for the use of testosterone replacement therapy and more traditional prescription drugs for psychological issues, but Kizer said that no one during his tenure has ever applied for a therapeutic exemption for prescribed marijuana use. This includes Diaz.

“I’ve never had that – a fighter saying they want to use marijuana for medicinal purposes,” he said.

Although he says that he can imagine certain drugs never being accepted for therapeutic use in Nevada, like the anabolic steroid nandrolone, Kizer stops short of saying that medical marijuana would be one of them.

The commission mailed a complaint to Diaz after his positive test after UFC  143 and he can now respond to the complaint, which is essentially at this point just an allegation. Some time this spring Diaz will likely have a hearing with the NSAC where he can plead his case and the commission will then make its findings. Gracie said recently that Diaz has retained legal counsel for the process.

Even though he did not come to the NSAC prior to any of his fights under their jurisdiction to apply for a therapeutic exemption, he can still essentially make the case that he should be granted one during the hearing.

Fighters can, in effect, explain the reasons why they took the banned substance and ask that the commission grant them an exemption to use them, Kizer says. “Sure they can. We’ve had that with athletes before where they come into their hearings and say that they did this or took that, explain mitigating circumstances and argue that they should be allowed to have done so,” he recalls.

With medical marijuana still being relatively new in the state of California — a hotbed for mixed martial arts fighters and teams — it will be interesting to see if more and more fighters begin to ask for exemptions to use it, and how the NSAC responds to their arguments.

*Correction made at 1:23 pm ET on 02/17/2011: Mr. Kizer contacted to clarify that although a fighter can argue that he or she should be granted an exemption for a banned substance and that their fine and suspension be reduced due to mitigating factors that necessitated the use of the prescribed drugs, NSAC will not retroactively grant a TUE for a substance that was not approved prior to the bout in question.

Cagepotato Comments

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macdoc- February 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm
it is no secret that Dias smokes weed. why the fuck didn't dana say something to his much valued employee about the exemption?

PS dias lost
fatbellyfrank- February 19, 2012 at 6:03 pm
@ nippletwist, jeez, butthurt much, unbunch yer panties ya fucken moron. Fucken retard cunt, you talk about debating and all you can do is resort to personal insults based on an internet tag????, go cry into yer Bong and get Diaz's balls out of yer mouth, and my opinion Condit outsmarted yer boy Diaz, was it pretty? no, was it what MMA fans like to see? no, but as long as it got him the win there will be camps"cough Jackson cough" who may see these type of tactics as OK, I personally like to see fighters come out guns blazing, however this time Condit was given a game plan which he stuck to religously, while Diaz didn't think on his feet. If someone in Diaz's corner had said something about which way Condit was dancing Nick could have used some footwork and cut him off, maybe, Diaz just planted his feet and wondered why Condit stayed out of range, not very clever, all that said, Condit won, and your a stupid cunt just because you are. Fuckin dumb fuck cock sucker, your the fucker who needs agood bitch slappin ya worthless piece of shit fucktard. See, I can do pointless insults as well, have a nice day.
Nippletwist- February 19, 2012 at 6:32 am
@fatbellyfrank actually you fat piece of crap you were debating the whys and wherefores as you clearly stated what you're line of reasoning for why you think diaz lost, that's called debating dummy, maybe you don't know what debating actually means, but more likely your fat retard brain just does not hold the capacity to remember things. obviously you don't know what facts or opinions even are anymore with your fucking clogged arteries, condit got bitch slapped and is the real loser and gluttonous sloths are never attractive.
bootystar- February 19, 2012 at 6:11 am
I agree it should & will be legalized
fatbellyfrank- February 19, 2012 at 2:20 am
@ Nippletwist, you are truly delusional,I wasn't debating the why's and wherefores, just pointing out the facts, which is obviously something you couldn't be bothered with. And i agree, it would suck to be physically repulsive, however, I am extremely attractive and a box of sexual semtex, I would suggest if you ever saw me in speedo's you would turn gay in a heartbeat, oh, and BTW DIAZ LOST
Nippletwist- February 19, 2012 at 1:25 am
@fatbellyfrank oh yeah so no bad decisions are never made in mma, right? sorry your so fat dude it must suck to be physically repulsive. i never said diaz won "in the books" so you're disagreeing with something i never said. i said what's "in the books" is wrong because it is. a flawed scoring system gave condit the fight. and according to cagepotatos own poll more than half of people agree with that. so it's not just "diaz nuthuggers" and people who don't understand the sport, those are strawmen arguments used by people who don't want to really debate. this websites demographic is the average mma fan, and when polled over 600 people responded and more than half of those people think diaz won. to not acknowledge that and try to act like condit definitely deserved to win is willingly delusional. winning a fight and being given a decision by judges are 2 different things. diaz won that fight, condit was awarded a decision by judges.
fatbellyfrank- February 18, 2012 at 7:55 pm
@ Nippletwisr, Diaz lost against Condit, its in the books, CP didn't make him lose, his own stubbornness and refusal to think on his feet cost him the fight. CONDIT WON DIAZ LOST, now get over yourself and get on with things. DIAZ LOST
fatbellyfrank- February 18, 2012 at 7:53 pm
@ Snag & Natural born runner, I have heard that medicinal marijuana is available for Cancer patients, quite helpful during chemo, my sister in law died from breast cancer cuppla years ago and when she was on Chemo she swore by hash cookies, def not legal down under, tho it would be a pretty heartless magistrate who'd record a conviction in those circumstances
Nippletwist- February 18, 2012 at 6:20 pm
@jimbonics wow oh yeah good comeback lulz "jimbonics" further illustrating my point what a clown
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NaturalBornRunner- February 18, 2012 at 12:39 pm
@ snag. if you have multiple sclerosis medical marijuana is one of very few things that helps there is a couple of documentaries on the subject. so i think you are mistaken about there not being a legit reason for marijuana consumption. its not always recreational
dillweed- February 17, 2012 at 7:07 pm
if the use of a substance does not 1) put a fighter at undue risk or 2) give the fighter an unfair advantage, then wtf is it banned for in the first place? This is the fucking crux of the argument, marijuana obviously does neither, I mean damn
SNAG- February 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm
I live in California and I know that there is no such thing as a "prescription" for marijuana. It can only be a "recommendation" by a crooked medical doctor. And for those of you who don't know, a 'recommendation' ain't shit. It just gives you the ability to purchase marijuana from a dispensary (which is usually hidden from public view). Even then, everything is kept very confidential because it's more like the State's 'tolerance' to marijuana, and not a 'right' for its residents. Diaz will have a hard time getting any doctor to come out in public and say that he(diaz) NEEDS marijuana, because it's not true. It's for recreation uses and everyone in the state, including the doctors know that.

I'm sure Diaz considered applying for a therapeutic exemption, but it's just not that easy when no one really has a legitimate reason to smoke.
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XENOPHON- February 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm
@Payday Says - Now that is funny!
Gobbleston- February 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm
@jimbonics: DO NOT FEED THE TROLL @Payday In my mind, Diaz gets a lawyer that politely and calmly explains the situation. When a single question is asked by the commission, Diaz will then explode into a torrent of slurs and excuses, to the chagrin of his counsel. And finally "when fighters and their doctors can convince the NSAC and its physicians that a prescribed treatment is specifically needed" This is hilarious to me, seeing how Nick's "doctor" is a man named Scratch that lives off of Telegraph Ave.
jimbonics- February 17, 2012 at 1:04 pm
@nipplefist your second post was weaker than your first. I didn't think it was possible.
Japanadian- February 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm
So can he get high right before the fights legally? if he can figure out how to fill out the papers
Nippletwist- February 17, 2012 at 12:18 pm
@jimbonics thank you for proving my point and illustrating yourself as a complete fucktard, although with a name as uncreative and corny as "jimbonics" what should i really expect
KarmaAteMyCat- February 17, 2012 at 11:34 am
Good to have you back Xeno. Now kindly make your way to the Chandella post.
Payday- February 17, 2012 at 11:20 am
Diaz lawyered up? How the fuck is that going to fly in the 209?
bootystar- February 17, 2012 at 10:55 am
Diaz will go up a weight & take that belt cuz nate is going up a weight too. Diaz will dominate in his new weight class & the dope thing won't be a problem anymore, either they won't test him anymore or he'll get an exemption, but honestly I doubt they'll test him anymore after this, they made their point
XENOPHON- February 17, 2012 at 10:55 am
QUOTE: "Some time this spring Diaz will likely have a hearing with the NSAC where he can plead his case and the commission will then make its findings. Gracie said recently that Diaz has retained legal counsel for the process."......................................................................................
Since Diaz raked in over a million bucks for making Condit run backwards for 5 rounds, he and his attorney will prevail in continuing to fight - minus a fine. ..............................................................................................
The biggest fuck-up in the Diaz camp is his manager. Nick is blowit, not shame in that. Problem is his manager should already know this, and made sure Diaz makes it to his press events (you know) like driving your kid to karate lessons, making sure Diaz does not get kicked out of championship fights, and is smart enough and been in the game long enough to know that you disclose drug use when you have the benefit of a prescription. ...............................................................................................
Biggest loser in MMA, Diaz's manager. Its his fucking job, and he FAILS!
k-onda- February 17, 2012 at 10:25 am
Now this is what I thought Diaz went to school for. Anyway, the appeal process is under way, and before it's finished Ron Paul will be president and shortly thereafter fighters will be obligated to fight under the effects of marijuana and Diaz will be champ mid 2013. You heard it here first.
jimbonics- February 17, 2012 at 10:09 am
Diaz called and would like for you to return his ball sack from the back of your throat.
He also claims his grammar is better than yours.