UFC star Nick Diaz has suspension reduced

UFC star Nick Diaz has fought just three times since 2011. (CP/Graham Hughes)

Nick Diaz could return to the UFC as early as this summer.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission announced at a hearing Tuesday it reached a settlement agreement with Diaz’s team to reduce his five-year suspension and fine of $165,000 (or 33 per cent of his $500,000 fight purse) for a failed drug test from UFC 183 last year.

That punishment was reduced to an 18-month suspension (retroactive to Jan. 31, 2015) and a $100,000 fine.

The 32-year-old tested positive for having marijuana metabolites in his system during a post-fight drug screening following his fight with Anderson Silva in Las Vegas.

His failed test was the subject of extreme scrutiny, however, since Diaz also passed two separate drug tests from samples received on the same night.

Diaz submitted three urine samples – one before the fight and two afterwards – during the night of his fight with Silva. Two of the samples “were administered under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) protocol and submitted for testing to the WADA-accredited Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Salt Lake City,” according to MMAFighting.

A non-WADA accredited lab in New Jersey administered the other test. The results that came from that lab showed the marijuana metabolites in Diaz’s system were over the limit and that was the test the NSAC referred to when handing out the initial suspension this past September.

One reason Diaz’s suspension and fine were merely reduced and not completely voided was due to the fact the NSAC said Diaz was guilty of not filling out his pre-fight medical questionnaire accurately.

As part of the settlement, Diaz must provide the commission with three clean urine test results (30, 15 and three days before his next fight) in order to be granted his combatant’s license. The earliest Diaz is eligible to compete would be Aug. 1.

Diaz is a medical marijuana user in his home state of California.