The GSP / Diaz Weigh-In and Drug Test Controversy – My Two Cents

Earlier today Nick Diaz’s camp made headlines arguing that the Quebec Commission relaxed their rules regarding weigh-ins by allowing a weight as high as 170.9 pounds to be rounded down to 170.  This was apparently announced shortly before the scheduled weigh in arguably prejudicing a fighter who unnecessarily cut an extra pound.  The second issue raised related to GSP’s post fight drug test arguing it was not properly supervised.  While these allegations, if true, paint the Quebec Commission in a poor light, they likely will do little more than that.

There are two points that initially spring to mind.  First, with the weigh in controversy,Quebec’s Regulation Regarding Combat Sports are silent on how decimals are to be treated.  Perhaps legislative amendment is required but absent legislative clarity this appears to be a matter of discretion and it is difficult to see how the Commission’s exercise of discretion with respect to decimals is appealable provided the discretion is being excersied equally and consistently for fighters in a bout.  Section 168(7) states that the fighter’s contract must specify “the maximum weight that the contestant must achieve at the official weigh-in“.  This strongly suggests the measurement of the binding weight agreed to by the fighters will be  deferred to the Commission’s exercise of powers.   That said, if there is evidence of inconsistency in application of this discretion from event to event then that is poor judgement on the part of the commission.  Worse yet, however, it appears the use of decimals was an ‘off the record’ decision which frankly may delegitimize this use of discretion.

Second, with respect to allegations that GSP’s post fight drug test was not properly supervised I fail to see how a legal remedy can arise from this this oversight alone.  If this allegation is true it certainly reflects poorly on the Commission, however, the drug test procedures are there to bind the athletes, not the Commission.  The Regulations addressing the purpose and ability to subject fighters to drug tests reads as follows:

71.1.  A person authorized by the president of the board under section 46.2.2 of the Act respecting safety in sports (chapter S-3.1) and designated to take urine samples may take urine samples from a contestant up to 3 hours before and 6 hours after a bout.

The taking of samples is intended to establish whether a contestant having taken part in a combat sports event has taken a substance, in excess of the permitted quantity, appearing on the list of Prohibited Substances and Prohibited Methods contained in the Olympic Movement Anti-Doping Code published by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) whose headquarters are located at Château de Vidy, 1007 Lausanne, Switzerland, accessible via the electronic address (http://www.olympic.org/), as it reads on the date of the sampling.

These standards are set to ensure the integrity of the testing process to avoid abuse by fighters.  This is expressly spelled out is s. 71.1.  This, coupled with the fact that the authority to test is clearly discretionary (“may take urine samples“) will likely leave Nick Diaz’s complaint without remedy on this issue.

This recent controversy reminds me of the murmurings made the Chael Sonnen camp following his second defeat to Anderson Silva alleging an ‘intended foul’.   A complaint that may generate headlines but likely not a legal remedy.   That being said, this controversy has certainly shined a much needed spotlight on the antics of the Quebec Commission and it appears they need to clean up their act.  Hopefully all of the light the Diaz camp is shining on the Quebec Commission’s antics will lead to apparently much needed disinfecting.

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4 thoughts on “The GSP / Diaz Weigh-In and Drug Test Controversy – My Two Cents

  1. This is my new favorite site by far.

    Keep up the great work.

    Love having a lawyers perspective in regards to the sport of MMA.

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