The Nevada Athletic Commission has decided that mixed martial arts fighter Nick Diaz should get a five-year ban because of failed marijuana drug tests. Unlike other decisions, this one particularly attracted tons of criticisms from other fighters, as well fans who learned about the issue. The criticisms even went far beyond organizational bounds, something that has never happened in the sport before.
Just recently, Chael Sonnen, a retired UFC fighter and now a WSOF current color commentator, expressed his thoughts about the issue.
“There’s lanes to everything. If a guy jaywalks, that’s illegal. If a guy robs a bank, that’s also illegal. But these are not the same crimes, these are treated drastically different. There’s governmental problems here. Look, the government says that marijuana is fair game now, okay? That’s what the law is. The commission is a government entity that is greatly, greatly inferior to the Unites States federal government, to the laws of the state of Nevada, to the laws of California, where Nick is from. They’re greatly inferior. So now you’ve got one government agency arguing with another government agency, and you’re sticking Nick in the middle of that. Nobody knows the rules, and there’s nobody you can ask the rules of. You and I can’t, right now, call up a commission and ask them, ‘hey, is blah blah banned,’ and get an answer. You can’t do it. That’s a problem. That’s a huge problem when nobody knows the rules and there’s nobody you can ask the rules,” he said.
Even WSOF MMA welterweight contender Jon Fitch has a lot of things to say about this issue as well. He said that five years is too much for this kind of violation and it will kill a fighter’s career. He said that it even tops the sentences that other fighters had who were penalized for a much worse violation, like Anderson Silva who were caught using excessive steroids and other banned substances.
Diaz’ case continued to affect a lot of fighters even days after the final decision was made. A lot of fighters were claiming it is an unspoken fact that the NAC has a tendency to be lenient and give a lighter sentence to those who are deeply apologetic and shows some sort of reverence compared to those who are defensive and trying to make some noise with their decision, like Diaz. With Diaz’ case, it looked like the commission intentionally disregarded the facts that the fighter’s camp presented that’s why it seemed that it was both predetermined and personal.
“It’s could’ve been that’s what they were looking for, was an ass-kissing. They wanted somebody to kiss their boots. They’ll pat you on the head, then after you kiss their boots, they give you a lighter sentence. Who knows? I mean, it’d be really corrupt and telling if that was it, and me speaking about this now, if consequences come down on me, we’ll all know that there’s some serious truth to it. I think fighters are starting to have enough. We’ve had enough of being treated the way we’re treated. We’re race horses who get sent out to the glue factory when our career is done, or when they decide our career is done. It’s just sad, especially when you contrast the Nick Diaz situation, no fighters’ association to help him out and have his back, to Tom Brady and the NFL Players’ Association having his back and getting the suspension overturned. It’s a clear symbol of, this is what happens when you have an association. This is what happens when you do not. Right? You have a lifetime ban, pretty much, versus nothing,” Fitch explained.