Following their fight both Silva and Diaz were reported to have failed drug tests, the latter for marijuana use. At his recent Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing, Diaz was hit with a five year suspension. The ruling has caused enormous controversy, not least because two of Diaz’s three tests came up negative and the one which did come back positive was the only one not undertaken by a WADA-credited laboratory.
Since then there has been a huge wave of support for Diaz, with demands both for the ruling to be overturned and the Nevada commission to be overhauled. The campaign – accompanied on social media by a #FreeNickDiaz hash tag – has gathered a lot of momentum and has brought in some celebrity support, including iconic singer Cher.
Schilling, who fights in the main event of this Friday’s GLORY 24 DENVER event, is pleased to see people getting behind his friend. He believes that the decision will eventually be overturned and that this passage in Diaz’s life will in the long-run turn out to be a beneficial one.
“He has had a ton of support. Celebrities and government officials getting behind him on it. It is an annoying, crappy thing to happen to Nick Diaz but ultimately it will be good for him and good for the sport,” he says.
“It’s a bittersweet situation to be honest. Anyone who has ever fought in Nevada long enough knows that the Nevada State Athletic Commission can be weird, they can do their business in a less than fair way sometimes. It’s bad that Nick is going through this but it is good that everybody is standing up and making changes happen.
“I don’t believe for a second that the ruling will stick. It will be overturned and some of the idiots on the commission will be changed out. It will be good for the sport. It is inconvenient for Nick but I think his stock with the sport and the UFC can only increase through this. I think he will fight again soon and he will be worth more money than he was before.”
Schilling finds it “laughable” that marijuana use is still being persecuted in this day and age, given that states and districts across the country are increasingly moving towards a position of legalization and decriminalization.
“It’s a huge issue right now in combat sports. America is on it’s way to legalizing marijuana, medically and recreationally. It is obviously not a PED. Nobody who has ever smoked pot believes that it is a performance enhancing drug. That is just ridiculous,” he says.
“For them to fine the amount of money they have fined him is asinine. The same commission charged Julio Cesar Chavez Jr about $600,000 from his purse. It’s just a ridiculous thing which needs to be dealt with, the same as the TRT thing needed to be fixed. They had some issues and got rid of TRT and now they need to fix the cannabis thing. It’s an invasion of privacy and there are so many reasons why it makes no sense whatsoever.
“Ultimately, as annoying as it is and as disappointing as it is that this is happening to my friend, in the end it will benefit the sport and will be one more way in which Nick Diaz has impacted the sport of MMA and become more of an icon. It’s just sad that it has had to come to this. FREE NICK DIAZ!”
Schilling says his shorts for this Friday’s fight with Dutch prospect Jason ‘Psycho’ Wilnis will be carrying a ‘Free Nick Diaz’ logo. The GLORY 24 CARD will air on Spike TV at 11pm ET.
“Jason is a strong opponent. I was excited for the title fight with Artem Levin, obviously, but that fell through when he got injured. Jason has a lot of experience and has fought a lot of top guys, he knows the game well,” he says.
“He isn’t someone who takes too many steps backwards, he marches forwards. He is a dangerous opponent and he will bring the fight, he will be in my face the whole time.”
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