The “Free Nick Diaz” petition on Whitehouse.gov may not hit its goal of 100,000 signatures by October 16 (it currently sits just north of 70,000), but that doesn’t mean Diaz is going anywhere. In fact, one way or the other, Diaz is likely to be back in the octagon much quicker than his current five year suspension might suggest — and rightfully so.

Disclaimer: I’m not exactly a Diaz fan. I love his fight style, but can’t stand a lot of his antics. Where the Conors and Chaels of the world always seemed to promote with a wink and a nod, a lot of times, Diaz didn’t seem to be promoting the fight, but rather failing to conduct himself in a manner befitting of a major athlete near the top of his sport. He was out of control, rather than putting on an act. A fine line, I know.

That said, fair is fair. And what happened to Diaz at the hands of a vengeful NSAC was nothing short of a disgrace. Serving the man with a five year suspension for marijuana when their own proposed guidelines suggest a three year ban for a third failure for the drug, and ignoring evidence that may have cleared him simply because they don’t like his attitude, is the absolute definition of a power trip, and small men on such trips shouldn’t be allowed to retain that power.

Diaz will likely have his day in court — a real court, following in the footsteps of Wanderlei Silva before him (only, unlike Wanderlei, he will be welcomed back into the fold). He will also likely win. He has already won in the court of public opinion: even his greatest detractors have found fault in the logic of the NSAC, who ignored two negative tests conducted by a more highly accredited lab in favor of a failure detected under questionable circumstances at a lab not meeting WADA certification standards.

Best of all for Diaz are the sorts of names coming to his aid. The USADA’s Jeff Novitzky has come out and said the commission got it wrong. The press has been decidely pro-Diaz. All sorts of fighters have lent their support, from Ronda Rousey to Rampage Jackson and everywhere in between. Some, including Henry Cejudo (who could be risking a potential title shot) have stated they will not fight in Nevada until the situation is addressed.

Even celebrities are getting in on the act. The most recent? Cher. She posted a link to the Whitehouse.gov petition earlier this week. There’s no word what, if any ties to Diaz the legendary diva has. What she does have, however, is three million followers on Twitter. Wiz Khalifa got in on the act as well, utilizing the #freenickdiaz hashtag.

While the courts may not give any weight to celebrity support, awareness is never a bad thing. It’s hard to remember a time when an NSAC ruling was this heavily debated not only by the MMA fan community, but by the greater world at large — and that can only be a good thing when it comes to reforming the most influential athletic commission in combat sports.

In the meantime, rest assured that Diaz will be back, sooner rather than later.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.