Las Vegas, NV – Yesterday, a rally calling for reform of the Nevada State Athletic Commission was held outside the Grant Sawyer State Office Building at the same time NSAC held its regular monthly meeting. The protest was organized by Teamsters Local 986 and the Culinary Union.
Photos from the rally are below:
The rally follows the delivery of a letter to Governor Brian Sandoval from the two unions last month. The letter outlined the problems with the unfair treatment of MMA fighter Nick Diaz in a recent decision by NSAC. Mr. Diaz was given a five-year ban and fined $165,000 for allegedly testing positive for marijuana at a lab not accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). NSAC ignored two other negative drug tests that were sampled the same day and tested WADA-accredited labs. The unions have asked the governor to mitigate the unfair decision against Mr. Diaz, review NSAC policies and procedures, and appoint a commissioner with medical expertise.
See the letter here: Letter to Gov. Sandoval_NSAC-Diaz.
“The Commission’s unfair decision against Mr. Diaz demonstrates an arbitrary selection of facts, is inconsistent with the Commission’s own policy, and endangers the reputation of the sport of MMA and the tourism industry in Nevada,” said Chris Griswold, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 986, in the letter.
The NSAC ban of Mr. Diaz was met with outrage by the MMA community and general public. A White House petition asking the Obama administration to lift the ban was started the day of the ruling against Mr. Diaz. Within 30 days, the petition received over 100,000 signatures. A number of fighters have even called for a boycott of Nevada and are refusing to fight in the state, which is commonly referred to by promoters as the “fight capital of the world.”
Tuesday, Mr. Diaz tweeted out news that legal talks with the Commission were going well, hinting at a potential settlement. NSAC Chairman Francisco Aguilar confirmed the talks and reminded the general public that “the Nick Diaz disciplinary matter will not be on the agenda at the regularly scheduled meeting of the NSAC on Thursday in Las Vegas.”
At the rally, participants held picket signs and chanted: “No justice, no peace!” Attendees then packed the NSAC hearing, gave public comments, and submitted a letter from State Senator Tick Segerblom to Chairman Aguilar.
“Our unions protect the interests of our members,” said Geoconda Arguello-Kline, the Secretary-Treasurer of the Culinary Union. “We take notice when we see a government agency making unfair decisions against workers that jeopardize the tourism industry in Las Vegas.”
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