By Oscar Pascual |
The motives for Nick Diaz’s five-year suspension for marijuana may have been meant for good, although it was not accurate.
At least that’s according to Jeff Novitzky, vice president of athlete health and performance for the UFC, who recently sat down with the Bloody Elbow to explain in detail his thoughts on the Nick Diaz case.
“I’ll start by saying that I think the committee’s motives are in the right place,” Novitzky said the elbow. “I really think they really care about the short and long term health of our athletes and that’s why they’ve taken a tough stance on the anti-doping world.”
Prior to his role at UFC, Novitzky gained a reputation as a federal special agent for arresting athletes on performance-enhancing drugs, including Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong and Marion Jones.
But unlike those athletes, Novitzky believes Diaz doesn’t deserve the same kind of punishment for marijuana.
“It’s a difficult subject and a difficult area, but it’s one that you have to get perfect, and that being said, they didn’t get this perfect. They did this wrong in my opinion,” Novitzky told the Elbow.
Novitzky then explained in detail why the Commission should have used drug testing conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rather than relying on a post-fight test from Quest Labs.
According to the WADA code, which Nevada follows, a test for marijuana must be positive if it exceeds 150 ng/ml. Those rules allow you to have a little bit of marijuana in your system. The first test came back around 40 ng/ml, and the last one after the fight was around 60 ng/ml. The concentration of urine is higher when dehydrated, so that makes sense, but both were well below the threshold. Then you have this other one, which is taken right after the fight, which is taken to Quest Labs. I’m not going to belittle them and say they’re not good, but the WADA accredited lab is the highest standard. WADA labs are continuously sent samples, blind samples, where the company knows what is in the sample, to make sure the different labs are doing well.
Novitzky went on to question the results of Quest Lab.
“Quest Labs’ sample was 733 ng/ml, one of the highest I’ve ever seen,” Novitzky told the Elbow. “There are major difficulties in interpreting those results. There is no real scientific medical explanation for someone with a 40, then a 733 right after the fight, and back to 60 shortly after.”
Diaz, who currently has the support of more than 63,000 petitioners who want his ban lifted, now plans to challenge the case in court.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons