Legal Background of Nick Diaz’s UFC “Whereabouts” Violation

The UFC announced that Nick Diaz has been provisionally suspended by the US Anti Doping Agency for accumulating 3 “whereabouts failures” within a 12 month period.

Diaz has not competed since January, 2015.  Despite this he remains under active contract with UFC parent company Zuffa,  which incorporates the custom tailored UFC/USADA anti doping program “ADP” into all fighter contracts.

Under the ADP athletes have an obligation to notify USADA of their whereabouts so the agency can conduct random and unannounced drug tests.

Having 3 whereabouts failures within a 12 month period is a stand alone ADP violation per article. 2.4 of the policy.

The punishment for three whereabouts violations is a default 2 year period of ineligibility but there is discretion to reduce this to 6 months with Article 10.3.2 of the ADP reading as follows:

For violations of Article 2.4, the period of Ineligibility shall be two
years, subject to reduction down to a minimum of six months,
depending on the Athlete’s degree of Fault. The flexibility
between two years and six months of Ineligibility in this Article
is not available to Athletes where a pattern of last-minute
whereabouts changes or other conduct raises a serious suspicion
that the Athlete was trying to avoid being available for Testing.

Athletes who remain under contract who wish to retire or who have no desire to compete in the near future can opt out of the whereabouts reporting and other obligations under the ADP by simply announcing their ‘retirement’ or ‘hiatus’ with the ADP noting as follows:

An Athlete shall be considered inactive due to
Athlete-Initiated Inactivity when the Athlete, while within the term defined in his/
her Promotional Agreement, informs UFC and USADA of his/her retirement or
hiatus from UFC competition, and is thereafter relieved of his/her obligation to
provide whereabouts information or make him/herself available for Testing by
USADA.

Diaz apparently did not take advantage of this option.

The UFC’s full press release notes as follows:

The UFC organization has been notified that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Nick Diaz of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from Diaz’s alleged accumulation of three Whereabouts Failures within a 12-month period. Diaz, like all other UFC athletes, is enrolled in USADA’s UFC Registered Testing Pool and required to file accurate Whereabouts information in order to be located for out-of-competition, no-notice testing.

USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of Diaz’s case, who has been provisionally suspended pending the final resolution of this matter. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.

Diaz has due process rights under the ADP and can contest any or all of his alleged whereabouts failures with an independent administrative review panel. It is unknown if he is going to exercise this right or simply accept the ADP violation.

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