For an inactive fighter, Nick Diaz sure knows how to keep his name in the headlines.
The mixed martial arts welterweight is still in a state of career flux due to a temporary suspension that will be further discussed next week, but he managed to make news repeatedly over the last few days despite not saying a single word in public.
Diaz has reached the point where everything he does is news in this world. Perhaps he’s even surpassed it, as everything he does also seems to be overanalyzed, often to a cartoonish degree.
Take, for instance, his weekend project that went awry. On Saturday, Diaz was supposed to face renowned grappler Braulio Estima in a jiu-jitsu match, with his purse going to charity. Yet when the time came for the contestants to be called on to the mats of the Long Beach (Calif.) Convention Center, Diaz was nowhere to be found.
Diaz had reportedly been in town the night before, ready to take part in the event as advertised, but left after confusion relating to weigh-in matters apparently angered him. To date, he hasn’t uttered a single word about the messy situation. His manager, Cesar Gracie, released a statement 48 hours later essentially saying Diaz was only guilty of a lack of communication, event co-promoter Renzo Gracie tried to shoulder the blame, saying he should have been more involved in ensuring the match happened, and Estima -- who traveled from abroad to take part in the event -- seemed utterly perplexed by the whole thing.
The event quickly blew up in the MMA media. It was, as many saw, yet another case of the enigmatic Diaz being Diaz. But for many, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back, even though he had no-showed two UFC press conference, decisions that ultimately cost him a seven-figure payday and a shot to fight for the welterweight belt. Diaz has always marched to his own drum with little regard for anyone else. (It should be noted that Diaz at least made a charitable donation to cover the purse he was supposed to donate.)
Why the blowup? The jiu-jitsu purists are among the most loyal fan bases in MMA, and his absence comes across as a slap to the face.
But in some regards, the attention is misguided. Diaz isn’t a pro grappler, he’s a pro fighter. This was simply a diversion for him. To compare it to another sport, if Dennis Rodman in his zany prime did not show up for a slam dunk contest, there would be no national outrage. At some point, your reputation precedes you, and these kinds of things should no longer be surprising.
That takes us to Diaz’s Monday.
A few hundred miles away in Las Vegas, Diaz’s attorney Ross Goodman argued that the temporary suspension against Diaz should be lifted after the Nevada state athletic (NSAC) commission did not hold his hearing related to a positive test for marijuana metabolites within 45 days.
NSAC, meanwhile, countered by saying that Diaz and Cesar Gracie, through Goodman, had promised to deliver a medical marijuana card, and that the meeting had been delayed while waiting for them to produce it.
In the end, Clark County district court judge Rob Bare denied Diaz’s injunction request, and he’ll have to face NSAC on May 21 with a possible one-year suspension looming.
Not surprisingly, Diaz’s camp claimed victory in the defeat, saying they had set a precedent through the judge’s ruling that, “All fighters are entitled to the protection of the statutory 45 day time limit.”
Of course, the notion of Diaz fighting a battle for anyone other than himself or his immediate team is fairly laughable. He is and always has been fighting his own battle, and that’s only when he bothers to show up at all. Not surprisingly, that wasn’t the case in his Monday hearing. Diaz was a no-show again. Within a few days, we might find out that he will not be around for up to one year (minus the current time served). But if history is any guide, though he’ll be gone, he won’t be forgotten. His next controversial act is always around the corner.
UFC President Dana White (above) embarrassed after Gray Maynard beat Clay Guida by split decision to win a lightweight bout and the main event of the UFC card in Atlantic City.
Can anyone top the big three of Silva, Jones, and GSP as the best pound-for-pounder fighter?