After receiving a five-year ban from the Nevada Athletic Commission for testing positive for marijuana metabolites, the crusade to bring justice for Nick Diaz has gained steam via White House petitions and calls to the Nevada Governor's office.
On Wednesday's edition of UFC Tonight, reporter Ariel Helwani said that he reached out to Governor Brian Sandoval to get his assessment on the Diaz suspension. Though he didn't get a direct reply, he did receive one from his communications manager, Mari N. St. Martin.
"The Governor puts great thought into his appointments and has an expectation that his appointees will represent the state with integrity and serve as fair and impartial members of their respective board or commission," the statement said. "The Nevada State Athletic Commission has sole jurisdiction over licensing of its contestants. The Governor’s Office monitors all board and commissions to ensure they are in compliance with state law but does not second guess individual rulings within the boundaries of statutory authority."
The former Strikeforce champion and current UFC fighter Diaz appeared before the NAC on Sept. 14, represented by attorney Lucas Middlebrook. His defense argued that Diaz should never have been tested three times in a day for his UFC 183 fight with Anderson Silva, and that the sample that came back positive not one of the two World Anti-Doping Agency tests that were given.
Diaz chose to plead the fifth when questions were directed at him during testimony, which further angered the commissioners. Pat Lundvall suggested a lifetime ban for Diaz, before the other commissioners came to the conclusion that a five-year ban — along with a $160,000 fine — was adequate.
The decision was met with outrage and awe by fans, media and fighters alike. Olympic Gold Medalist Henry Cejudo vowed never to fight in the state of Nevada again, citing the lack of due process at the hearing. Leslie Smith and Aljamain Sterling also declared they'd no longer compete in Nevada.
A petition to the White House to lift the NAC's ban on Diaz has over 63,000 signatures as of Sept. 30 and counting. It has to gain at least 100,000 signatures by Oct. 14 — one month from the day it was issued — to warrant a White House response.