It’s been almost two weeks since Nick Diaz’ NAC (Nevada Athletic Commission) hearing, and the MMA world has unified in support of the MMA veteran.
Diaz, who tested positive for marijuana metabolites at UFC 183, was suspended for five years and fined $150,000 – 33 percent of his $500,000 fight purse.
One of the hot talking points of the hearing was Diaz’ use of the fifth amendment. The Stockton fighter was advised by his legal team to plead the fifth instead of answering the questions directed by Pat Lundvall. Some of the questions, which attorney Lucas Middlebrook believes were used to mock Diaz, included; “Are you a UFC fighter?,” and “Do you consider yourself to be an unarmed combatant?”
Despite the awkwardness, Middlebrook believes they offered Nick Diaz sound advice, and claims that the commission’s behaviour at the hearing will be used against them in a court of law.
“Nick was not gonna get up there and be presented with an impartial questioning or examiner,” Middlebrook told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “I still feel like the commission was out to embarrass him and for lack of better terminology to trip him up. We did not see any positive value coming from having him answer any of their questions. Instead, he invoked the right that everyone in this country has under our constitution, [which] is to not testify against yourself. And that right includes that a negative inference cannot be drawn against you for invoking that right. We firmly stand by that decision.”
Middlebrook’s strategy at the hearing was to point out how Diaz had actually passed two out of three drug tests on the night of UFC 183. Two of the urine samples collected by SMRTL (Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory) came back clean, while the Quest Diagnostics (a non-accredited WADA lab) results revealed a 300 ng/mL level of marijuana metabolites.
The attorney is confident about challenging the irregular results at a judicial hearing.
“I really am confident in our case in front of the judicial system,” Middlebrook said. “I’m confident because of the facts and evidence we put on in the hearing. I think they were compelling. And I think we have good legal arguments for an abuse of discretion on behalf of this commission and really an abuse of power and the denial of due process.”
Nick Diaz’ opponent Anderson Silva also failed drug tests on the night of UFC 183 – the Brazilian tested positive for anabolic steroids and received a one-year suspension (retroactive Jan 31st). Silva could return to the Octagon as early as February, next year.
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