October 28, 2015 – Amy Dardashtian, Inside MMA Legal Correspondent
Tomorrow morning around nine o’clock pacific time, the Nevada Athletic Commission will hold it’s monthly public hearing. Insiders expect a large rally outside the meeting with protestors spilling into the public meeting as well. The rally is being organized by two local unions in support of Nick Diaz. Flyers are circulating across social media by advocacy group Fighter’s Agenda encouraging people to show up at the NAC offices tomorrow during the hearing and protest the commission’s decision back in September to suspend Diaz for five years. The flyers say, “Let the Nevada Athletic Commission know that fighters should be treated fairly by regulators!”
Since the meeting is public, anyone can sit in on the meeting and stage a civil, silent, non-disruptive public protest as well as a vocal protest outside. At the end of the meeting, the commission must give the opportunity for public comment. At that point, anyone unhappy with or supportive of the Diaz decision has an opportunity to be heard.
NAC Chairman Francisco Aguilar issued the following statement on Wednesday, ““As a reminder to the general public, the Nick Diaz disciplinary matter will not be on the agenda at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Thursday, October 29, 2015 in Las Vegas.” The Chairman’s statement appears to be specifically addressed to any protestors who may show up and attempt to discuss Diaz at the meeting during the public comment section.
Aguilar goes on to say, “Settlement discussions between the NSAC and Mr. Diaz and his counsel are on-going.” We broke the news first on Twitter last night that Diaz’s counsel in Las Vegas, which also represents the UFC, is actively involved in settlement negotiations with commission members. The commission confirmed it today. Sources tell Inside MMA that Diaz could be back in the Octagon as early as this summer with discussions centering around a suspension of somewhere right in the middle of one and two years, backdated to his last fight in January 2015. The commission has not yet issued its original written decision and has until November 13th to do so. It may issue its decision for a five year suspension and wait for Diaz’s counsel to petition for a rehearing before reducing his punishment. However, sources believe the reduction could be fast tracked with the Attorney General recommending a settlement to save the commission from unwanted litigation.
Diaz is believed to have a strong case on appeal by legal analysts and lawyers on both sides of discussions. The commission may also convene a special meeting to discuss Diaz within the next two weeks. However, any alterations to Diaz’s punishment must be discussed and decided publicly. Keep an eye out at the end of tomorrow’s hearing to see if any commissioners request the convening of a special meeting or hearing. While, they may not specify what it is for, sources say, if requested, it would relate to Diaz.
On background, Fighter’s Agenda, which is organizing tomorrow’s protest is
an initiative formed by Teamsters local 986 and the Culinary Union. Both unions have been actively engaged in trying to assemble support for a fighter’s union which would give fighters bargaining power against the UFC and other MMA promotions. In particular, the Culinary Union has a long history of organizing campaigns against Station Casinos which is owned by Zuffa founders Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta. The Culinary Union has accused the Fertitta-run casino chain of repeatedly violating federal labor laws and is working to help station casino workers decide whether to form a union.
You may be able to catch tomorrow’s protest on a live stream broadcast through UFC’s fight pass which broadcasts the NAC hearings.
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