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Commission drops hammer on Diaz

Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Nick Diaz’s career is essentially up in smoke after he was handed a severe penalty by the Nevada Athletic Commission on Monday.

Diaz, 32, was suspended from competition for five years and fined $165,000 after a drug test showed marijuana metabolite levels in his system five times the allowable limit on Jan. 31, the night he lost a unanimous decision to Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC 183 at the MGM Grand Garden.

The commission approved the sanction unanimously after briefly discussing a lifetime ban. It was the third time the NAC has disciplined Diaz for marijuana-related offenses.

“I was very comfortable with the decision,” said NAC executive director Bob Bennett, who does not vote on matters before the commission. “I believe the chairman stated it’s not as much of a marijuana issue as it is the total lack of respect that Diaz has shown not only our commision, but other commissions in failing to adhere to rules and regulations.

“It showed that he has total disregard.”

Diaz, who referred to the hearing as “dorkcourt” on Twitter late Monday, had previously received a six-month suspension in 2007 and a one-year ban in 2012 from the NAC. Commissioners also cited a drug test Diaz avoided in 2009 from the athletic commission in California while deliberating on his fate.

Lawyers for Diaz argued the positive test on Jan. 31 test was flawed. Two separate tests were performed on the same day by Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory, a World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited lab, and each showed metabolite levels under the allowable limit.

The positive test came from Quest Diagnostics and was taken just after the fight and before the second SMRTL test. Diaz’s attorneys presented a witness that called into question the procedures used in collecting that sample.

Diaz left his defense to his attorneys. When called upon to answer a series of questions, he exercised his fifth-amendment right against self-incrimination on the advice of his lawyers on each and every response, including whether or not he fought on Jan. 31.

Diaz, an admitted medical marijuana smoker in California, was more outspoken after the proceedings.

“I’m pretty pissed,” he told ESPN.com. “I got into this sport for this exact reason, being stuck in a room with people like that.

“I wanted to tell them what I think. I wanted to tell each and every one of them they’re a bunch of dorks. Everybody who sees them or knows who they are should tell them that. I would if it weren’t for my experts advising me to keep my mouth shut. I wanted to get up and say, ‘Look. You guys are way the (expletive) out of line.'”

His attorneys plan to appeal the ruling.

Silva tested positive for an anabolic steroid after the same fight. He was suspended for one year and fined $380,000, the equivalent of 30 percent of his purse and all of the win bonus he received for the bout.

“You look at the outcome of the Silva hearing and the outcome of this one and I can understand why the public would see that (on its own) and be outraged,” NAC chairman Francisco Aguilar said. “It’s not just looking at him smoking marijuana, it’s the process in which we got to the point where we are, taking a holistic view of the entire situation and making a decision that was difficult.”

The only suspension longer than the five-year sanction issued to Diaz on Monday by the NAC was a lifetime ban of Wanderlei Silva last year. A district court judge in Nevada vacated that ruling in May and ordered the commission to convene a new disciplinary hearing on the matter.

* SHIELDS DISCIPLINED — Also at the NAC meeting on Monday, World Series of Fighting welterweight Jake Shields was ordered to perform 50 hours of community service for what amounted to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

The former Strikeforce champion and UFC contender threw a punch at then-WSOF champion Rousimar Palhares after submitting to Palhares to end the fight.

Shields explained his moment of anger was an impulse reaction to Palhares holding the submission too long after Shields had already tapped out and Palhares’s repeated eye gouges during the fight.

Palhares, who was stripped of the title and suspended indefinitely by WSOF following the fight, was also scheduled to appear on Monday. He requested a disciplinary hearing at a later date, however, because his wife is pregnant.

He has been disciplined several times in the past for similar infractions.

* ROUSEY HAPPY WITH MONEY — UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey expressed joy with the amount of money she’s bringing in as the organization’s biggest star during an appearance on ‘Ellen.”

“I’m the highest-paid fighter in the UFC,” Rousey said on the episode that aired Monday. “That’s fun to say.”

Rousey is scheduled to defend the belt against Holly Holm in the main event of UFC 193 on Nov. 15 in Melbourne, Australia.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj

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