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Nick Diaz's lawyer: 100K signatures on petition further highlights 'injustice' of NAC hearing

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

No one knows how the White House will respond or if it even will. But Nick Diaz's lawyer doesn't think any one of the 100,000 signatures on an online petition was for naught.

"Amazing," Lucas Middlebrook said. "The White House response is anybody's guess. The 100,000 does, however, prove that our defense prevailed in the court of public opinion, further highlighting the injustice of the entire proceeding."

The Nevada Athletic Commission suspended Diaz for five years and fined him $165,000 at a disciplinary hearing last month. Diaz tested positive for marijuana in relation to his UFC 183 main event fight with Anderson Silva on Jan. 31 in Las Vegas. It was the popular fighter's third weed offense in the state, but the suspension is far more than given even to multiple time performance-enhancing drug offenders.

On Sept. 14, a fan filed an online petition on the White House website to get the NAC's ruling overturned. The petition needed 100,000 signatures by Oct. 16 for the White House to review it and respond. On Wednesday, that number was reached and exceeded.

Middlebook presented a very compelling defense last month. Diaz actually passed two of the three drug tests taken Jan. 31. The results of the one he failed came from Quest Diagnostics, a lab not accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The two negative test results came from a WADA lab, the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory.

The NAC commissioners did not even mention the two negative tests in their deliberations. Commissioner Pat Lundvall initially motioned for a lifetime ban. The NAC also seemed to hold Diaz pleading the fifth against him, though, as Middlebrook pointed out, that is against the United States Constitution.

Middlebrook is now waiting for the NAC to produce a written decision before he can proceed. He expects to receive that soon. Once that written decision is obtained, Middlebrook will file a petition for judicial review to get Diaz's case in front of a judge.

Judicial review worked for fellow UFC fighter Wanderlei Silva, who was handed a lifetime ban for evading a drug test last year. A judge overturned the discipline in May, calling it "arbitrary and capricious." Silva will be back in front of the NAC again Oct. 29 for a re-hearing.