Nick Diaz: UFC fighter cleared for August return

Nick Diaz: UFC fighter cleared for August return

NICK DIAZ may have lost the battle during his initial disciplinary hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission in September, but he eventually won the war.

After a public outcry from fans and fighters, and a petition on the White House website which drew more than 100,000 signatures, Nick Diaz’s suspension has been reduced.

The Stockton fighter’s controversial five-year suspension for marijuana use was cut down to 18 months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission during a quick meeting Tuesday in Las Vegas. He also had his fine reduced from $165,000 to $100,000.

Since the suspension is retroactive to his last fight on Jan. 31, Diaz will be eligible to return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship cage on Aug. 1.

Diaz, 32, could not be reach for comment. He and his lawyers were not present at the meeting, and the ratification of the new ruling took but a few moments.

It is the third suspension for Diaz, and all involved marijuana. He has stated for years he has a medical marijuana card in the in California and has does not believe it is a performance-enhancing drug.

He was suspended for five years in September after failing one of three drug tests he submitted to before his Jan. 31 bout against Anderson Silva.

Silva won the fight, but the decision was later overturned and changed to a no contest after he tested positive for steroids. The Brazilan fighter was suspended for a year and fined $380,000.

Diaz’s original suspension was considered heavy handed by many in the MMA community, and fighters including Ronda Rousey, Chad Sonnen and Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal took to Twitter to protest the decision.

A petition to throw out the suspension was posted on the White House website, and the 115,056 signees included celebrities such as actor Jeremy Piven, singer Cher and comedian Tommy Chong.

Diaz’s legal team has been working with the Nevada commission the past several weeks to find a compromise. He will now get a chance to jump start his career.

A pro fighter since 2001, Diaz has a 26-9-2 record, but hasn’t won since decisioning BJ Penn in 2011.

Sportact Editors and Wire Services

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