Nick Diaz’s attorney Lucas Middlebrook, who represented his client well despite a farcical disciplinary hearing with the Nevada Athletic Commission last month, is blown away by the response from a White House petition to overturn Diaz’s suspension.
In an interview with MMAFighting.com, Middlebrook reacted to the petition passing the 100,000 signature threshold required for a response from the White House. Though he has no idea what to expect on that front, he thinks the very fact that they got that many people to react favorably towards Diaz is meaningful.
“Amazing,” Middlebrook said of the petition hitting the mark. “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.”
Diaz’s team has not yet filed for a judicial review on the five year suspension arbitrarily handed down by the commission last month, because they are still awaiting the official written decision from the NAC. Diaz was suspended five years over a disputed drug test for marijuana, with the positive test coming as an outlier from two tests conducted by a separate lab on samples given before and after the one in question. He was also seemingly punished more harshly due to a refusal to testify on his own behalf in front of the commission.
Penick’s Analysis: It’s just really unlikely that anything all that meaningful will come out of a response from the White House. However, the very fact that there’s as much uproar over the situation as there has been is what could ultimately lead to the type of scrutiny and outside pressure to bring the decision under further review. The commission members simply did not do the jobs they were supposed to do in this situation, and got petty and spiteful in their interactions to the point that the ultimate punishment came off as a personal vendetta against Diaz. The NAC is absolutely not in the right here, and the MMA world has made that abundantly clear. If they can get the rest of the country to realize what’s happened, they might be able to get something done about it. There’s still a long uphill battle ahead, but this petition result is certainly something that could have at least some minor effect.
[Nick Diaz art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]