UFC welterweight Nick Diaz, who has not fought since January 2015, will at least be eligible to resume his career by the end of the month.
Diaz, 34, has accepted a one-year suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for missing three out-of-competition drug tests within a 12-month span. He is the first athlete to record that violation under the UFC's program.
USADA announced Diaz's suspension on Monday. The timing of the announcement is unique in that Diaz has already served nearly all of the suspension.
The one-year period of ineligibility is retroactive to the date of Diaz's third missed test, which was April 19, 2017. That means the suspension ends in just 10 days.
Diaz (26-9) has not expressed interest in a fight for some time but has never officially retired.
As a member of the UFC's testing pool, he is required to notify USADA of his whereabouts. His failure to do so on three separate occasions resulted in the violation.
It's likely Diaz's apparent disinterest in his career also prolonged the sanctioning of his case. His formal acceptance of the suspension suggests he might intend to fight again, however, and USADA records show he has been successfully tested once in 2018.
USADA and Diaz's team have also put measures in place to help prevent another whereabouts violation. It's not uncommon for the agency to establish a point of contact within an athlete's team to assist the whereabouts process while maintaining the random nature of the tests.
Diaz is a former Strikeforce champion and UFC title challenger. He fought Georges St-Pierre for the 170-pound championship in 2013 and lost by unanimous decision.