There have been mixed reactions in the world of MMA betting, following last week’s announcement that the Nevada Athletic Commission had handed out a ridiculous 5-year suspension for testing positive on marijuana around his January 2015 fight with Anderson Silva. Diaz, apparently, had tested for marijuana before and this was his third offense, hence was treated as a repeat offender, supposedly warranting the harsh suspension.
Floyd Mayweather and Ronda Rousey actually agree on something for once: http://t.co/hR4BZwcSlt
— Complex (@ComplexMag) September 22, 2015
Needless to say, Diaz has himself largely to blame for indulging in marijuana use and giving the commission an easy target to victimize in the “bid to curb” drug use among fighters.
In the big picture, though, the grandstand act to hand Diaz a five-year suspension plus a $165,000 fine—which was by far the harshest penalty ever seen in Mixed Martial Arts—is probably just a cover up for the many flaws in the UFC rulebooks, as has already been highlighted and criticized by many people concerned with the sport.
Various UFC fighters have already come out strongly to criticize the suspension. Just to mention a few, outspoken UFC queen Ronda Rousey claimed the test was done for “political reasons” and not the best interest of the sport, John Fitch held back no bars as he said the corrupt association suspended Diaz for not “Ass-Kissing,” while Olympic Gold Medalist Henry Cejudo and other fighters also joined in to criticize the suspension and even took a step further by refusing to fight in Nevada. The media and other MMA forums have equally voiced their opinions, most of them lamenting about the distasteful stand by the commission and the need to stop such actions before the beautiful sport of UFC and other related MMA endeavors are ruined by such backward verdicts.
On its part, UFC has not done much to criticize or support the decision, choosing to remain rather quiet on the entire issue. Just about the only comment that has come from the UFC is from Dana White, the UFC president, who spoke indirectly about the issue.
While on the UFC 193 media tour in Australia, White commented on the issue in his Q&A by saying, “Wait a minute, this guy was suspended five years and got a $150,000 for marijuana?’ You can take that completely out of context, too, but that’s his third offense. It’s his third offense and let’s all be honest here, Nick Diaz doesn’t exactly play by the rules. Listen, everybody would love to hang out and smoke weed all day and not play by the rules. That sounds awesome. That sounds like a great thing to do. But in reality, you can’t do that, especially when you’re dealing the government.”
In the Q&A, White also revealed that Diaz had some tax problems with the IRS in the past that could have contributed to the suspension. ”Nick was also in a situation where Nick hadn’t paid his taxes in a long time,” said the UFC president. “You can’t do that, either. It has to be more than just, ‘Hey the guy smoked weed.’ I don’t know all the facts yet.” Reiterating on the fact that he didn’t know much about the issue and needed to dig further before being more reaction about it, the UFC boss said he’d be back in the office in Las Vegas this week to find out more about Diaz and the entire case.
It remains to be seen how the Diaz story will continue to unfold over the next coming weeks or months. Still, as at now, what remains clear is that the system needs a lot of cleaning up to do. Victimizing a few sportsmen like Diaz in the pretentious scapegoat theme of going “tough on drugs,” while failing to address in ineptness of commissions running independently at the state level in America won’t do much good, if any. At the very least, a better oversight and regulation system needs to be put in place before such suspensions are issued, and done in the right way. For example, it is a case of double standards when Diaz is fined heavily and handed a potentially career-ending suspension for his “minor dependency on marijuana,” when former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones tested positive for cocaine and is to date under no official suspension.
At his age of 32, there’s probably not much he’ll be able to do if he ever makes a comeback to UFC, unless his suspension is somehow rescinded. Having already glimpsed earlier this year that he’d be willing to retire from the sport, maybe Diaz should take the suspension as a cue to move on. That would probably serve him better than trying to stay relevant in a sport that he was already on the decline, and with commissioners who cannot tolerate his unwanted social habits.