Teamsters and Culinary Union call on Nevada to Reform State Athletic Commission

teamsters nick diaz
Teamsters and Culinary Union members rally outside the Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing / Facebook

Teamsters Local 986 and the Culinary Union held a rally Thursday in Las Vegas calling for reform of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The rally was held outside the Grant Sawyer State Office Building at the same time NSAC held its regular monthly meeting.

The two unions delivered a letter to Governor Brian Sandoval last month outlining the problems with the unfair treatment of UFC fighter Nick Diaz in a recent decision handed down by the NSAC. The commission fined Diaz $165,000 and suspended him for five years after allegedly failing a drug test for marijuana at a lab not accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Diaz had two other tests done on the same day tested at WADA-accredited labs and for those he tested clean. The unions are asking the governor to mitigate the unfair decision against Diaz, review NSAC policies and procedures, and appoint a commissioner with medical expertise. (See the letter here.)

“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’s handling of the Nick Diaz case has universally been given a thumbs down. There was even a White House petition asking the Obama administration to lift the ban that received over 100,000 signatures in 30 days. No word from Obama yet, but a number of fighters have called for a boycott of Nevada and are refusing to fight in the state.

Tuesday, Diaz tweeted that legal talks with the Commission were going well, hinting at a possible settlement. NSAC Chairman Francisco Aguilar later confirmed the talks.

During this week’s NSAC hearing union members rallied outside, while others packed the meeting and voiced their opinions. “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.”