The UFC has given a “lifetime ban” to Welterweight Nick Diaz after a suspension of five years was imposed on the former American mixed martial artist who is currently signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Diaz failed a third positive test for marijuana and his suspension could most certainly end his time in the Octagon. The 33-year-old Diaz tested positive for marijuana metabolites following his fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 183 on 31 January. Diaz however passed two other drug tests on fight night.

The controversy comes in that two other samples of Nick Diaz passed drug tests analyzed by the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL) that is acknowledged and accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency. The third failed test, that was administered in-between the two clean tests, was analyzed by a different agency in Quest Diagnostics. The team of Diaz claims that the results were “scientifically unreliable” given that the results of SMRTL were reached using the higher standard of drug testing protocols of WADA.

The fight between Silva-Diaz was ruled a no-contest after Anderson Silva tested positive for anabolic steroids and received a doping ban of one year and fined $380,000.

In 2007, Diaz was suspended by the NSAC for six months after he tested positive for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In 2012, Diaz was banned for a year for testing positive for marijuana metabolites following a defeat to Carlos Condit.

On Monday, the Nevada State Athletic Commission met to discuss Diaz’s third failed test. NSAC commissioner Skip Avansino said a five-year ban would essentially be the same as “a lifetime [ban] for [Diaz].” The NSAC voted unanimously to ban Diaz for five years, meaning he would not be eligible to make a return until 2020. The UFC fighter was also fined $165,000. Diaz was present during the hearing but decided not to answer any question. Commissioner Pat Lundvall had to force Diaz to verbally plead the fifth in his stance of silence during the hearing that had around 30 questions.

Upon hearing the verdict, Diaz spoke to media and labeled the Commission a “bunch of dorks”. Diaz’s attorney, Lucas Middlebrook, said his client will appeal against the ban after a decision was made in what he claimed to be a “kangaroo court”. The argument of Middlebrook is based on the failed test of Diaz containing five times the legal limit of marijuana metabolites while the other two tests were well below the allowable level. Middlebrook argues that the results cannot be judged to be reliable given the difference between the failed test and the two clean tests.

Middlebrook also said a box marked “observed” was not filled in by the collector that means Nick Diaz may have been unsupervised when he provided it. It was also added that the name of Diaz was included on the sample when all tests are meant to be anonymous to remove any bias and prevent tampering. However, the NSAC remained unmoved and stood by its decision and defended the testing techniques of Quest despite Diaz being a registered medical-marijuana user.

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