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UFC fighter Ronda Rousey, announcer Joe Rogan and others across the MMA world have come out in support of Nick Diaz after the Nevada Athletic Commission hammered him with a five-year sentence for a positive marijuana test. Rousey called Diaz a ‘dear friend’ and said the commission should not be testing for weed at all, and Rogan called the sentence ‘callous, idiotic and sickening.’
UFC fighter Josh Samman even penned an editorial for the MMA website Bloody Elbow in defense of Diaz and called out the NAC for their abuse of power.
Most will point to the commission’s lack of consistency as a catalyst for their disapproval. After all, Nevada is the same state that granted repeat steroid offender Vitor Belfort a license to fight for a title at UFC 187, a year after failing a drug test for elevated testosterone.
It’s easy to understand the concern when a medicinal plant is punished more harshly than a set of drugs used to make you stronger, faster and more capable of inflicting life-altering punishment.
Those concerns radiated across America after Diaz’s suspension was announced, and a petition was filed to WhiteHouse.gov to have the five-year exile lifted.
"Nick Diaz was unfairly banned from being a professional fighter by the Nevada Athletic Commission. They ruled based on their personal feelings and beliefs towards the use of medical Marijuana and used their power to deprive Mr. Diaz of being able to make a living."
As of 9 p.m. PT Wednesday – just over two days after the ruling – the petition had over 30,000 of the 100,000 required signatures. If the requirement is met, then the petition will be formally addressed by President Barack Obama.
For comparison, California handed down a 90-day suspension and $1,500 fine to Bellator fighter Fernando Gonazalez. Ironically enough, Gonzalez is competing this Saturday at Bellator:Dynamite!, whereas Diaz will likely be sitting on his couch for the next five years.
Granted, the Gonzalez ruling was a different regulatory body, but it still offers a nice window into sanity.
Apparently citizens aren’t too happy with the commission for suspending a fighter for five years for smoking marijuana.