Prosecutors in Las Vegas drop battery case against UFC fighter

Prosecutors threw out domestic battery charges against UFC fighter Nick Diaz on Thursday, hours before a judge was set to hear evidence in the case.

Late last month, a grand jury chose not to indict Diaz, but prosecutors said at the time that they planned to move forward on four counts of domestic battery.

Diaz’s attorney, Ross Goodman, had argued that the case should have been dismissed after the grand jury refused to indict the fighter.

“We are grateful that the District Attorney’s office was fair and thoughtful in reviewing this case based on the evidence and making the decision to dismiss this matter,” Goodman wrote in an email, adding that the woman had made several “inconsistent” statements about what happened. “Truth delayed is better than no truth at all, and I trust that the ultimate dismissal of all charges … will be viewed as total vindication for Nick and clears his name from being associated with such horrific but false allegations.”

Diaz’s aggression in the cage and brash attitude outside of it have helped make him one of the most popular fighters in the UFC, the Las Vegas-based largest MMA organization in the world.

A former Strikeforce welterweight champion, he has competed just four times since returning to the UFC in 2011. He has been suspended for positive marijuana tests on three separate occasions. He also recently completed a one-year ban from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for three whereabouts violations.

Diaz last competed in the middleweight headliner of UFC 183 in January 2015 at MGM Grand Garden Arena when he dropped a unanimous decision to former champion Anderson Silva. The result was later changed to a no-contest after both fighters failed drug tests.

His two previous fights were welterweight title losses to Carlos Condit in 2012 and Georges St. Pierre in 2013.

“I’m grateful this case is finally over,” Diaz posted Thursday afternoon on Twitter. “I want to thank my team and my lawyer Ross Goodman for the excellent work. But most importantly, I want to thank the fans who stuck by me throughout this process. I’m happy to put this chapter of my life behind me and I’m looking forward to focusing on my return.”

Diaz was arrested in May after police responded to a call to investigate a domestic disturbance between a man and a woman, according to Las Vegas police spokesman Larry Hadfield.

The fighter was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on suspicion of battery and domestic battery by strangulation.

Prosecutors later charged Diaz with one misdemeanor count of domestic battery and three felonies: domestic battery with substantial bodily harm and two counts of domestic battery by strangulation.

In accepting the dismissal, Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Amy Chelini addressed prosecutors and the fact that the grand jury had declined to approve the charges.

“They say you can indict a ham sandwich, so that tells me everything I need to know,” the judge said. “The frustrating thing for me is we have a lot of true victims out there, and when you see stuff like this and you take strained resources from the true victims, and it’s frustrating for the court. But you did the right thing.”

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson declined to comment.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Adam Hill contributed to this report.