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Nick Diaz Off Strikeforce Card, Jesse Taylor In Against Jay Hieron (Update II)

Nick Diaz

Strikeforce “Carano vs Cyborg” has just been one those cards where pretty much anything and everything that can go wrong has. It’s been plagued with injuries, replacements and cancellations. And it may not be over.

Nick Diaz, a self-proclaimed expert at beating drug tests, failed to show up last Friday to take the one he needs to get licensed by the CSAC, and now the title fight between him and Jay Hieron is in jeopardy. It’s not really clear why Diaz didn’t show up last week—his camp says it was rescheduled for Monday (today), the CSAC of course disputes—but one thing has been made perfectly clear. Diaz must take the test today.

“[The test] has to be in the lab today by 5 pm to get the processing started because usually we’re looking at about a 72 hour process time, and then the extra day for results,” explained [CSAC Assistant Executive Officer Bill] Douglas. “So if they get it in today there’s a chance it could be finished on Thursday, and we’ll have a report in our hands by Friday. Doing the test tomorrow is not going to do any good because the lab won’t process anything during the weekend and we wouldn’t have anything in our hands to license the bout until Monday. It has to be in by 5 pm today”

The kicker is even if he takes it today, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee he’ll be able to fight. If CSAC has the results in their hands by the weigh-ins on Friday and he passes, he’s good, but there’s a chance the report won’t be completed in time for weigh-ins in which case he won’t get licensed and he’s off the card.

Leave it to Nick to keep things interesting as the card comes down to the wire. Never a dull moment.

Image via Showtime Sports

Update: Still no definitive answers on the Diaz situation, but considering Bill Douglas said, “To say this bout is on ‘life support’ is the understatement of the year,” it’s not looking good.

Scott Coker confirmed on the Strikeforce conference call today that the bout is in jeopardy. Basically, Nick has until 3PM PT to get to LA and take the test. Coker commented that he’s “hoping Nick will make the right decision,” so it doesn’t sound like there’s a lot of confidence coming out of the Strikeforce camp. Furthermore, Strikeforce has submitted Jesse Taylor’s name for approval to the CSAC as a replacement for Nick in case he doesn’t licensed.

No official statement from the Diaz camp yet, however Bill Douglas is giving the CSAC’s side of the story. According to him, it sounds like Nick was originally under the impression he either didn’t have to take the test or the results didn’t matter. Apparently, he had made some kind of “deal” regarding his California medical marijuana license with former CSAC head Armando Garcia.

“Well they wanted a clarification on a legal opinion about medicinal marijuana in California because of the deal that was allegedly made between Nick Diaz and Armando Garcia. And I’m sitting here thinking, well Armando hasn’t been here since November. Is that really the policies of a person that we want to emulate at this point in time. So lets disregard that but Cesar asked for a legal opinion and at that point I’m obligated to give it to him. I went back to the department’s legal team, and what they clarified was that the passionate use act in California will protect people from criminal prosecution for the use of medicinal marijuana, but it does not protect them from administrative action against a license. So there is no criminal actions here against Mr. Diaz, it’s a licensing action that still falls in line with our rule 303 prohibiting use of a banned substance, and at this time in regards to athletic competition marijuana is still considered banned. So that’s what we came back to Cesar with.”

I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but it’s starting to sound like whether Nick would pass the test is as big of an if as whether or not he actually shows up to take it. For the record, it sounds like the CSAC has gone above and beyond their obligations giving Nick every possible opportunity to take the test.

Update 2: It’s official, Nick Diaz will not be licensed by the CSAC, and Jesse Taylor will replace him in a three round non-title fight. Nick’s manager/trainer, Cesar Gracie, confirmed the Douglas’ story about the deal they had with Armando Garcia. Their argument is the informal agreement with Garcia precluded random drug testing, and the policy changed without notification.

On Monday, Diaz’s manager, Cesar Gracie, said his fighter had an informal agreement with former CSAC executive officer Armando Garcia that precluded random drug testing. Diaz, a resident of Stockton, Calif., currently holds a medical marijuana license under the state’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996 and Medical Marijuana Program Act. Garcia departed the agency last November.

“They changed it without any notification,” said Gracie. “No one had any time. The old guys were doing things based off of California law, and I knew California law didn’t change. He’s licensed… it’s legal. They’re own legal team came out with a ruling that said (compassionate use was allowed). Then all of a sudden they’re saying we’re doing drug tests, and cannabis is included, it’s not just performance enhancers. To flush it out of his system, it takes 10 days, and we don’t have that.”

“He fights every two months,” said Gracie. “It’s too bad for Jay Hieron, but what can you do? If you take the test, what’s going to happen? What’s going to happen is he’s gonna not get licensed in California for over a year and not fight this fight. If you don’t take this test, you don’t fight this fight, and you fight next month, because you have time to flush it out of your system.”

So I guess no one in the Diaz camp reads the internet or talks to anyone in MMA for that matter. Some guy named Josh Barnett failed the CSAC’s first random drug a couple weeks ago. That probably would have been a good time to look into what this random drug testing was all about and how it might affect Nick.

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