It’s been a long list of supporters for Nick Diaz, who received a five-year suspension and massive fine from the Nevada Athletic Commission two weeks ago for transgressions involving marijuana.
Not only are fans outraged — or the media, or marijuana activists. Nope, everyone, from BJ Penn, who feuded with Diaz after their 2011 bout, to a possible future opponent in Tim Kennedy, has come to Diaz’s defense.
http://t.co/po9fheFK3w is in full support of Nick Diaz. We got your back Nick!
— BJ PENN (@bjpenndotcom) September 15, 2015
— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) September 14, 2015
But as widespread as support has been — including a White House petition that has received over 60,000 signatures according to our friends at Fightline — it’s still a bit surprising to see the UFC’s own anti-doping representative come to Diaz’s defense.
Yet, that’s exactly what happened yesterday, in an interview conducted by Josh Samman of Bloody Elbow.
Jeff Novitsky, a former federal agent who is now UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance, tells Samman that “they got this one wrong, in my opinion.”
“There are big issues with those results,” Novitsky says of the three tests Diaz took — one of which didn’t come from a lab accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
“I didn’t hear an explanation for the five year suspension,” Novitsky continues. “Their proposed new regulations is three years, which to my understanding hasn’t even been formally passed. It could have been potentially his failure to fill out the form and leaving marijuana off his pre fight that was taken into consideration as some kind of aggravating circumstance. I didn’t hear an explanation behind that.”
“But I think all that is moot,” he says. “Because looking at those three tests, I don’t think that there should have been a positive test to begin with.”
Novitsky stresses that under current protocol, there won’t be issues with test results as was the case with Diaz, as all labs will be WADA accredited.
He hopes — like many — that the ruling will be appealed.