by Steven Marrocco – MMAWeekly.com
A welterweight title fight between Nick Diaz and Jay Hieron at Strikeforce “Carano vs. Cyborg” is the latest casualty in a long line of changes to the Aug. 15 card.
The bout came into question on Friday when Diaz missed a pre-fight drug test mandated by the California State Athletic Commission.
Bill Douglas, Assistant Executive Officer of CSAC, on Saturday informed MMAWeekly.com that Diaz had not been licensed and the situation would be “a challenging process.”
On Monday, Diaz’s manager, Cesar Gracie, said his fighter had an informal agreement with former CSAC executive officer Armando Garcia that precluded random drug testing. Diaz, a resident of Stockton, Calif., currently holds a medical marijuana license under the state’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996 and Medical Marijuana Program Act. Garcia departed the agency last November.
“They changed it without any notification,” said Gracie. “No one had any time. The old guys were doing things based off of California law, and I knew California law didn’t change. He’s licensed… it’s legal. They’re own legal team came out with a ruling that said (compassionate use was allowed). Then all of a sudden they’re saying we’re doing drug tests, and cannabis is included, it’s not just performance enhancers. To flush it out of his system, it takes 10 days, and we don’t have that.”
It’s not the first time Diaz has come under fire for his marijuana use. In April 2007, the Nevada State Athletic Commission stripped him of a victory over Takanori Gomi at Pride 33 due to high levels of the drug in his system. Last March, he was stricken from a Strikeforce co-promotion with Elite XC when he reported his use of the drug on a pre-fight medical questionnaire.
On a Monday teleconference promoting the fight, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said CSAC gave Diaz until 3p.m. on Monday to take a “second chance” test in Los Angeles. A contingency plan had been prepared in the event Diaz does not get licensed, he added, and Hieron would fight regardless of the outcome with Diaz.
In a fiery email sent to media members, Douglas said Diaz and his representatives hadn’t contacted him to arrange the second test.
“If Mr. Diaz is in fact in route to Los Angeles, then it is news to us because he has not notified us and considering that we are administering the test,” wrote Douglas, “I suggest that he or someone from his camp ‘let’s their fingers do the walking,’ ‘reaches out to touch someone,’ or any other colorful catch phrase that you can think of stemming from an old telephone commercial.
“Strikeforce has approached us with a replacement opponent and the representative from the promotion company that spoke with (CSAC representative) inspector Segovia about one hour ago stated, ‘If we don’t know by noon then it’s done.’”
Shortly after, Douglas informed MMAWeekly.com that Diaz had not renewed his license and UFC and Dream veteran Jesse Taylor had been approved for the fight.
“We wish (Diaz) well in his future endeavors,” wrote Douglas.
Gracie said the situation was unfortunate, but Diaz would take a later fight.
“He fights every two months,” said Gracie. “It’s too bad for Jay Hieron, but what can you do? If you take the test, what’s going to happen? What’s going to happen is he’s gonna not get licensed in California for over a year and not fight this fight. If you don’t take this test, you don’t fight this fight, and you fight next month, because you have time to flush it out of your system.”