by Ross Everett
Had things happened differently, Nick Diaz would forever be part of MMA history. Regardless of how his career transpired after February, 2007 he should have been remembered as part of one of the greatest fights ever. His PRIDE 33 matchup against Takanori Gomi should have created an indelible legacy. It was a mixed martial arts version of Gatti/Ward or Castillo/Corrales 1. It should have been the biggest victory of Diaz’s career and the centerpiece of his highlight reel.
Unfortunately, Diaz’s moment of glory lasted only about six weeks. On April 10th, the Nevada Athletic Commission announced that hed failed a drug test. Diaz had tested positive for marijuana, and his THC level was off the charts. The Nevada Athletic Commission considers a THC level over 50 a positive result for marijuana usage. Nick Diazs THC level was an astounding 175 and that led NSAC Chairman Dr. Tony Alamo to speculate that in this situation marijuana was a performance enhancing drug. The rationale was that during the fight Diaz was feeling no pain”literally. Diaz was fined, suspended and the result of his almost certain fight of the year winner with Gomi changed to a no decision.
Diaz had singlehandedly removed the luster from a classic bout. Following an action packed and very close first round Gomi took control in the second. Gomi had opened a cut on Diazs face and it was bleeding a gusher. On several occasions Gomi implored the referee to stop the fight, or at least check on the cut due to the excessive blood flow. With the ref showing no signs of stopping the fight and Diaz hanging tough, Gomi took the fight to the ground and in a matter of seconds found himself forced to tap out to a gogoplata.
While Diaz might not be a bad person, hes definitely someone who attracts trouble. While the relative risk pot smoking is debatable and beyond the purview of this article one thing is certain”fighters are prohibited from its use. Sadly, it appears that Diaz places a greater value on his recreational drug use than his legacy as a professional prizefighter. Hes gone so far as to obtain a prescription for medical marijuana in California.
Ironically, Japans notoriously lax oversight of mixed martial arts makes it a perfect fit for Diaz. He doesnt have to worry about drug tests or athletic commissions who arent sympathetic to his claiming a need for medical marijuana. His workrate, conditioning and versatility as a fighter will be appreciated by the Japanese fans, and offers countless matchup opportunities for the Japanese promotions. Most significantly, perhaps, his participation with Japanese promotions DREAM or Sengoku provides Diaz the opportunity to put his missteps behind him and reassert himself as one of the sports most exciting fighters and not one of its biggest troublemakers.
About the Author:
Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer and noted authority on sports betting odds comparison. He writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sports news and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Las Vegas with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former energy secretary Donald Hodell.
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