(CN) – Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight contender Nick Diaz sued the Nevada State Athletic Commission, claiming his suspension for failing a drug test violated due process and state laws.
The lawsuit is a rare challenge to the authority and methodology of state athletic commissions who discipline mixed martial arts fighters.
The commission claimed that a urine sample Diaz provided after a Feburary fight, UFC 143, tested positive for marijuana metabolites. It summarily suspended his license.
Now Diaz claims in Clark County Court, Nevada, that the Constitution’s due process clause requires a “promptly convened final hearing” on temporary suspensions, pending a final determination.
“Over two months have transpired since the summary suspension of Diaz’s license was effected by the NSAC,” the complaint states. “The NSAC has still not convened a hearing. Nor has a hearing been scheduled.”
Diaz claims that Nevada state law requires the commission to hold a disciplinary hearing on the summary suspension within 45 days of its being handed down, which the commission has failed to do.
“Despite repeated requests, neither Diaz nor his attorneys have received any correspondence concerning the date on or by which the hearing of the NSAC’s complaint will proceed,” the complaint states. “Diaz’s license has, in effect, been suspended indefinitely, in the absence of any adverse findings having been made against him by the NSAC.”
Diaz claims that the summary suspension has therefore lapsed and should be set aside: that the commission has “lost statutory jurisdiction.”
He claims that state law allows for summary suspensions only when “the action is ‘necessary to protect the public welfare and the best interests of the sports regulated.'”
He says the commission has not found that his suspension is necessary to protect public welfare.
Diaz on Thursday sought a preliminary injunction on an order shortening time. In an attached declaration, Diaz said he made $475,000 in the past year fighting for the UFC and that it is his sole form of income. He said the suspension makes it impossible for him to earn a livelihood. He said he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and was in full compliance with California state registry laws for medical marijuana use.
“The NSAC’s delay has surprised and disappointed me,” Diaz said in 153 pages of attachments to his request for an injunction.
At UFC fight 143, Diaz lost in a unanimous decision to UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit in a title fight. Diaz said the UFC publicly announced before he was suspended that Condit had agreed to an immediate rematch for the interim title with Diaz.
“If the summary suspension is set aside, I will be prepared to compete against Mr. Condit or against any other opponent deemed suitable immediately,” Diaz said.
Diaz seeks declaratory relief and an injunction for a stay of disciplinary action against him. He is represented by Ross Goodman of Las Vegas.