This past week the news broke that UFC welterweight Nick Diaz failed a post fight drug screening after his latest fight on February 4th. Taking a loss against Carlos Condit was hard to take for Diaz, and he retired immediately after the fight. He was bound to get asked about it everywhere he went – are you going to fight again? UFC President Dana White was talking about having Diaz fight Josh Koschek. The pressure was certain to mount on Diaz, who took a few puffs of his favorite ‘temporary escape’. Now we don’t have to ask the question, Diaz will be suspended and away from the sport for what is likely to be a year.
This is Diaz’ second run in with a commission over marijuana use. Though certainly not a performance enhancing drug, it is illegal and clearly on the list of substances that are tested for in major sports. It seems like at some point Diaz said ‘Fuck it’. Certainly he has the personality type that might be inclined to not care what the authorities say.
This brings back the whole drug testing argument which has been in the news and certainly on the UFC’s mind in recent months. Unlike Chris Leben, who was contrite and apologetic when he was found to be abusing a substance and reportedly accepted the help of the UFC, Diaz is unlikely to want help, he is unlikely to see potentially habitual marijuana use as a problem.
Other suspended for failure of these drug screenings have been for performance enhancers and have lost their license to fight for a year. Where they screened throughout that year? The process is completely broken when recreational and performance enhancing drugs are policed in the same, limited way.
Diaz is probably going to isolate himself from the MMA world, and keep doing his own thing. His trainer said prior to the positive result that Diaz would take some time off and then we will see about a return to MMA.
I would bet we have seen the last of Nick Diaz in MMA. If he returns, it will likely not be to the UFC, as he has proven a headache to them for multiple reasons, this last test being only the latest case. Why would they re-sign him in a year, especially if he doesn’t change. and that is the read I get in his personality. Some of the qualities that make him a great fighter will also hold him back – he is fierce, he believes the world is against him, he doesn’t deal well with authority or being told what to do.
If Diaz has been using pot regularly (cleaning up to pass tests, but otherwise indulging) he has been trying to have things both ways – to be a top athlete in a rigorous environment and to be able to do what he wants. Now he has to pick one, which is why I think we won’t see Nick Diaz anymore. I hope I’m wrong.