Diaz Eyes Oct. Dream, Rep Meets With CSAC
While his re-licensure in California remains a work in progress,
Diaz is in talks to fight for Dream in October.
Gracie, Diaz’s longtime trainer and manager, met with Dream
Event Producer Keiichi Sasahara at Strikeforce this past weekend in
San Jose, Calif., to discuss the possibility of Diaz competing
either Oct. 6 or 22. Gracie said Sasahara expressed an interest in
the outspoken 28-year-old facing Japanese legend Hayato
Sakurai, but that talks were in the preliminary stages.
Strikeforce announced an alliance with the Japanese promotion a few
weeks ago, and the two have already begun an open exchange of
talent that saw Dream’s Mitsuhiro
Ishida compete on Saturday’s card.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said he was “100 percent” open to Diaz
competing overseas next, while Gracie said Diaz could return to
Strikeforce for one of its November or December events.
Gracie said he’s been told Diaz will fight for the promotion’s
welterweight title at that time.
Diaz was pulled from Saturday’s championship bout against Jay Hieron
after the Stockton native did not take a pre-fight drug test
required for his re-licensure in the state. Gracie said Diaz has a
medical prescription for marijuana to treat the hyperactivity
disorder ADHD and wasn’t given proper warning that his fighter
would be tested per an arrangement he said was made with former
CSAC Executive Officer Armando Garcia. Hieron went on to earn a
unanimous decision against late replacement Jesse
Taylor in a non-title bout on Saturday.
At a post-fight press conference, Coker said Hieron, who turned
down a UFC contract to join Strikeforce, will fight Diaz for the
title, although the timing of the bout is up in the air.
“It might be that Nick can’t fight (for Strikeforce) till the end
of the year and Jay fights in-between there,” said Coker, “but
that’s a fight we definitely want to put together because we made a
commitment to Jay and we want to keep that commitment.”
Meanwhile, Gracie met with CSAC officials on Friday to discuss
Diaz’s re-licensing and the testing procedures he will be placed
under moving forward.
Gracie and CSAC Assistant Executive Officer Bill Douglas discussed
the possibility of the state agency adopting a “Theraputic Usage
Exemption” program, utilized by the World Anti-Doping Agency
(WADA). According to the WADA Web site, a TUE would allow an
athlete to take medication that appears on the WADA Prohibited list
without facing penalties.
Clarifying statements Gracie made to Sherdog.com last week, the
trainer said an arrangement to test Diaz only on the night of his
scheduled bouts was made between Diaz’ former employer, Pro Elite,
and Garcia. Gracie also specified that the promotion relayed the
agreement to him, not Garcia.
Both Gracie and Douglas told Sherdog.com that a former Pro Elite
employee also attended the meeting to corroborate Gracie’s
assertion that an agreement had been in place. Douglas said he had
no knowledge of the agreement prior to Gracie telling him.
Gracie said he hopes Diaz will be granted an exemption for
marijuana while out of competition, and that the fighter will abide
by the testing procedures during competition.
“He does need (marijuana),” said Gracie. “He has ADHD and he’s had
a prescription for Ritalin since he was a kid. He doesn’t want to
take that. That’s worse than pot.”
Douglas called the meeting “extremely positive.”
“We don’t have a TUE program in California yet, not to say we
won’t,” Douglas told Sherdog.com Monday. “I pledged to have the
CSAC staff work with Gracie and his reps, because putting a TUE
program together to present to the commission will take time and
effort, as well as feedback from many parties. We can put the plan
together, but ultimately the commission has to vote for it.”
Douglas said the first step will be to secure a date to present the
idea to the commission board, but noted that if the commission is
receptive, the entire process of incorporating the system could
take up to a year.
In the meantime, Gracie said Diaz could be tested for re-licensure
as early as in a few weeks. Gracie said Diaz would cease using
marijuana during that time in order to pass the necessary
Douglas recommended Diaz be ready for the testing this time
“I think that as soon as he finds out he has a fight, he’d need to
do what he needs to,” said Douglas.
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