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Bellator's Kendall Grove calls fighters to organize following Nick Diaz's 'death sentence' suspension

Bellator MMA

While Kendall Grove prepares to face Joey Beltran Sept. 25 at Bellator 143, the former Ultimate Fighter winner admits a bigger fight is being waged right now.

With the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) handing down an unprecedented five-year suspension and $150,000 fine to Nick Diaz following a failed drug test for marijuana metabolites, Grove says it's time for change in the sport.

"I think it's stupid and ridiculous," Grove said of the suspension. "Yea, it's for multiple offenses but [former UFC middleweight champ] Anderson Silva gets busted for multiple PEDs and gets a slap on the wrist because he's kissing ass. You've got [former UFC light heavyweight champ] Jon Jones doing coke in a hit and run with no real suspension, just a leave of absence. Then you've got Nick Diaz for weed, something that's legal now. It's basically a death sentence along with the $150,000 fine.

"Maybe a six-month suspension, fine him, OK, but don't take away his livelihood. That's just wrong. We need a fighter rep, a union rep. Someone to help us with these things."

Grove, himself, has even admitted to fighting under the influence of marijuana in the very early part of his career, but says he can't risk being around the substance now.

"I don't do it now because I'm afraid I'm going to get suspended for two years or maybe even five, now, and get fined up the ass," said Grove. "I'm going to wait until I retire because it's not worth it. It's a touchy subject. Even with a license [for marijuana], [Diaz] has a medical marijuana card, it's still against the rules, but to kill him? It's a young man's sport. Something needs to happen right now and hopefully it can."

Grove isn't alone. Along with MMA notables like commentator Joe Rogan, UFC champion Ronda Rousey, Demetrious Johnson and T.J. Dillashaw have all come out in support for Diaz. Fighters have been overwhelmingly vocal in their criticism of the NAC's ruling. Grove hopes this is the final push the sport needs for better labor organization.

"Everyone's reaching out to help now," said Grove. "Everyone's sick of it. Nick is Nick. Outside of the cage he's a stand up dude. It's just the system sh***ing on him. Why? Because he's standing up for himself? You can't control the dude so you're f***ing with him? Hopefully the MMA community can come together and protest and do something about this. Strength is in numbers. We've got to come together and make it happen."

"We need someone in power, someone with a voice. Someone who can make s**t happen. Go on strikes. Maybe not a union, but someone that can represent us as fighters. We're getting taken advantage of constantly. We're still a young sport but it's about that time we really need it. [New England Patriots quarterback] Tom Brady was sort of caught cheating and he's all good. No suspension. He played the season opener. 'F**k you, commissioner.'"

Grove admits forming a labor union for fighters has its drawbacks, but believes it's what the sport needs right now.

"Yea, we'll have to pay money out of pocket for union dues, but at the end of the day when it comes down to stuff like this it's worth it," said Grove. "To have someone having our backs against these big corporations for how they treat us. We're getting run through like a Tijuana hooker."

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