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Joe Schilling: Five-year suspension will be 'good thing' for Nick Diaz, the sport


Joe Schilling sees the silver lining in the bleakness of Nick Diaz's suspension. In fact, the Bellator MMA and GLORY star thinks the whole situation will turn out positively.

Schilling told MMA Fighting this week that he sees the Nevada Athletic Commission's decision being overturned briskly and the organization's oversight being examined. Once Diaz returns to the Octagon, Schilling sees him being an even bigger draw.

"Overall, I think it's good for Nick," Schilling said. "He's worth more money now. He's even a bigger name now. A lot of people got behind him and the sport is gonna change. Somebody is gonna get in there and clean house, so to speak, with the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Ultimately, it's going to be a good thing. It's just really ridiculous and insulting that they did it to Nick Diaz."

Last month, Diaz was suspended for five years and fined $165,000 by the Nevada Athletic Commission for a third failed drug test for marijuana. Diaz did pass two fight-night tests at UFC 183 on Jan. 31 in Las Vegas, but the commissioners ignored those results and made their decision based solely on the positive test.

Schilling, a training partner of Diaz, has been impressed by the show of support his friend has gotten from fans, peers and even strangers.

"The amount of people and celebrities who have come out for him -- there's a White House f*ckin' petition with [almost] 100,000 f*ckin' signatures on it," said Schilling, who meets Jason Wilnis in the main event of GLORY 24 on Oct. 9 in Denver. "That is f*cking insane."

And it's that kind of outrage and support that leads to change, in Schilling's mind. "Stitch 'Em Up" believes there needs to be sweeping reform when it comes to regulations for marijuana in combat sports.

"Overall, as a legacy of the sport, Nick Diaz is not gonna be known as the bad guy who failed the drug test," Schilling said. "He'll be the guy that changed the way they test for marijuana. It's a ridiculous rule. Everybody on the planet knows marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug. For them to take $165,000 for him is asinine. It's crazy. Then to say he can't work for five years knowing it's not a performance-enhancing drug, it's ridiculous. Because of Nick and because of this situation, that will be changed and they'll fix it. It'll be one more thing in the sport, because Nick Diaz was a part of it."

Schilling, 31, certainly looks at things in a positive way. But he firmly believes that Diaz being suspended, though in his opinion "criminal," will turn out for the better -- for all involved. Except maybe those commissioners who passed on the sentence.

"I think it's kind of like bittersweet," Schilling said. "It's really unfortunate and disappointing and annoying that it happened to Nick. But I think overall, it's a good thing for the sport and it's a good thing that all the people are making noise about it and supporting Nick. I have no doubt that very shortly the ruling will be overturned and Nick will be fighting again."

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