by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
The Nevada State Athletic Commission today handed down suspensions for mixed martial arts fighters Joe Pearson, Kit Cope, and Nick Diaz.
On January 20, 2007, following his loss on strikes to Urijah Faber, Joe Pearson tested positive for Delta-9-THC, which is the active ingredient found in marijuana. The NSAC today suspended Pearson for 6 months from the date of the fight and fined him 20 percent of his fight purse. That would put Pearson’s suspension date at July 20, 2007. The amount of his fine totals $800 based on his fight purse of $4,000.
In his statements to the Commission, Pearson said, “I am very embarrassed, it will never happen again. This is not something that I do, it is a mistake that I made, not a habitual problem.”
Kit Cope, who also fought and lost on January 20, 2007, failed his post-fight drug test. Cope tested positive for the anabolic agent Boldenone, considered a performance-enhancing agent. The commission cited comparisons between Cope’s case and the case of Stephan Bonnar, who was also suspended for testing positive for Boldenone. Cope was subsequently suspended for 9 months from the date of the fight and fined one-third of his fight purse. Cope’s suspension would run through October 20th, 2007 and his fined totaled $1,167 based on a reported fight purse of $5,000.
In addressing the Commission, Cope did not try to deny the test result. He did provide information that in December of 2005, he had reconstructive shoulder surgery and received “probably 30, 40 different shots” as part of his rehabilitative process. Cope indicated that the Boldenone could have been included somewhere in those injections, but that “it wasn’t for performance enhancing.”
Fighter Nick Diaz, following his defeat of Takanori Gomi on the February 24, 2007 Pride event in Las Vegas, Nevada, also tested positive for Delta-9-THC. The commission suspended Diaz for 6 months from the date of his fight, which would be August 24, 2007 and fined him $3,000, which was 20 percent of his reported $15,000 purse.
Though Diaz’ disciplinary suspension will last six months, Diaz was already serving a six-month NSAC medical suspension due to a broken orbital bone suffered in the Gomi fight.
In addition to the suspension and fine, the NSAC also ruled that the result of the Diaz vs. Gomi contest be changed from a victory for Diaz to a result of no contest.
Apparently, the commission felt that the level for which Diaz tested at, 175, was a considering factor in his performance during the fight. Dr. Tony Alamo, the Commission’s Chair, said that a result of 15 is considered positive, but that the NSAC has a threshold of 50 to test positive for THC and that they “feel very comfortable that everyone that tests positive [in Nevada] is truly positive.”
Alamo went on to say, “Mr. Diaz was 175. This creates a unique situation. I was there at this fight and believe that you were intoxicated and… that it made you numb to the pain. Did it help you win? I think it did.”
In his statements to the commission, Diaz said, “I wasn’t under the influence when I was fighting. I don’t abuse drugs normally; it was a one-time thing. It was very embarrassing for me to test positive.”
He also pleaded for leniency from the Commission as he indicated that he is the primary provider for his household.
All the suspended fighters will have to provide a negative drug test to the NSAC before they will be allowed to fight again in the state of Nevada.