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Georges St-Pierre sounds off on Nick Diaz's five-year suspension

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Georges St-Pierre was one of the loudest advocates for more stringent drug testing regimes in mixed martial arts during his latter years in the sport, but even he can see the lunacy in the five-year suspension the Nevada Athletic Commission handed down last month to his former rival, Nick Diaz.

"Personally, I think five years is too much," St-Pierre told Canadian outlet RDS. "Especially when you think about Anderson Silva and other guys who were doping and received a lighter suspension compared to [Diaz].

"I think they wanted to make an example out of him to send a message because he's a colorful character who talks a lot and makes a lot of noise. They wanted to make an example out of him like they did in the Olympics with Marion Jones, for example. Unfortunately, it fell on him, but I think everyone is entitled to a second chance."

Diaz, 32, was suspended five years by the NAC after testing over the limits for marijuana metabolites in a UFC 183 post-fight drug screening. The test in question was one of three screenings conducted over a window of a few hours, and was also the only test to not be administered under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) protocol.

The other two screenings, taken within hours of the outlier test and submitted for testing to the WADA-accredited Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Salt Lake City, UT, both came back clean.

That fact, along with the unprecedented nature of the NAC's ruling, have drawn outrage throughout the MMA community and beyond. The situation prompted Diaz's attorney Lucas Middlebrooks to call the commission a "kangaroo court," and many within the media have echoed his sentiments.

Diaz is expected to appeal the verdict with the help of the UFC, which has extended the services of its law team, Campbell & Williams, to the former title contender.

St-Pierre, like many in the fighter community, expressed indignation at the severity of the penalty, as five years is effectively a death penalty for the career of a 32-year-old fighter like Diaz. The NAC's punishment for what it perceived to be Diaz's third marijuana offense paled in comparison to lighter sentences many others, including Silva, have received for abuse of steroids or other performance enhancing drugs.

"Yes, [marijuana is] a drug, but I think there should be different penalties for certain products competitors use, because this makes no sense," St-Pierre said. "Marijuana could help someone that suffers from anxiety, but it won't make you stronger or more powerful. I don't think it should be judged upon so severely."

St-Pierre defeated Diaz via unanimous decision to defend his then-UFC welterweight title in March 2013 at UFC 158. The lead-up to the fight promoted heavily the bad blood between the two welterweights, but even despite their rocky past, St-Pierre is willing to offer his assistance in clearing Diaz's name.

"Nick is a very charismatic guy. A lot of people talk about him. But he isn't someone I hate," St-Pierre said. "I hold no ill will towards him. Several things were said before our fight, but it was purely from a sporting perspective. I didn't take any of it personally.

"We need a guy like him in this sport and I hope he will return soon. If I can help him in one or another, without embarrassing me, it would be a pleasure for me to do. I like him a lot and I wish him all the best."

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