Nick Diaz now has another fighter openly offering his support: former foe Georges St-Pierre.
The former long-reigning UFC Welterweight Champ, who defended his belt against Diaz in March of 2013, told French-Canadian outlet RDS that he’s willing to do what he can to help, to a point.
“Nick is a very charismatic, he makes a lot of attention, but it’s not someone I hate. I have no hatred toward him,” St-Pierre said (translated by MMAJunkie.com). “Many things had been said before our fight, but it was only in sporting terms. I did not take anything personal.
“We need guys like him in the sport, and I hope he will return soon. If I can help in one way or another, without getting in trouble, it’ll make me happy to do so. This is someone that I like, and I wish him the best of luck.”
While St-Pierre himself has been advocating for stronger drug testing in the sport and stiffer penalties for offenders, he believes marijuana falls outside of the spectrum of disconcerting drugs, and shouldn’t carry nearly as significant a punishment as PEDs, let alone a punishment even greater than that.
“Personally, I think five years is a lot, especially if you compare his case to Anderson Silva or other athletes who got caught cheating and received a lighter suspension,” St-Pierre said. “I think they wanted to use him as an example because of how colorful he is and of the attention he gets. They wanted to create a precedent similar to what has been done in Olympic sports with Marion Jones, for example. Unfortunately, it happened to fall on him, but I think everyone is entitled to a second chance.
“This is a drug, yes, but I think there should be different penalties for certain products that competitors use, because then it does not really make sense. Marijuana can help a person suffering from anxiety, but it cannot make you physically stronger or more powerful, more efficient. The sanctions should not be as severe.”
Penick’s Analysis: I’d bet most probably never expected to see a situation like this, with St-Pierre of all people getting in Diaz’s corner, but as he says, he didn’t take things personally, and doesn’t hold any ill feelings for his former outspoken challenger. I’m not sure exactly what St-Pierre can do to help the cause, but speaking out further and publicly against the commission’s ruling and the way they came to their punishment is at least going to keep getting it attention. It can’t be allowed to just disappear as an issue, and further public support from well known names in the sport will help ensure that it doesn’t.