Five years ago this week, Nick Diaz skipped out on a presser to hype his scheduled fight against George St. Pierre and then just disappeared. Yesterday we ran a series of stories we posted initially when this new broke. Here’s an article from Sept. 7, 2011 detailing more fallout with damning quotes from his trainer and manager…
Cesar Gracie has often defended Nick Diaz’s actions, and as his trainer and manager he’s done what he could to explain away certain behaviors the 28-year-old has displayed throughout the last several years. However, Diaz’s most recent slip up is something Gracie says he can’t defend.
Diaz no showed two press conferences this week for UFC 137 and essentially disappeared, leading the UFC to take him out of the event and replace him with Carlos Condit. Gracie believes it was the right move for the UFC, and he’s at as much of a loss as any for Diaz’s behavior this week.
“I told Dana [White] he was right to have done that,” Gracie said in an interview with Ariel Helwani at MMAFighting.com. “There’s a lot of hard workers I see that have trouble putting food on the table for their kids. I’ve stuck up for Nick a lot, but I can’t stick up for him on this one.”
“I would have driven him to Vegas if it came to that. I don’t care. He just turned his phone off and acted like a little kid. It just doesn’t cut it.”
Gracie believes Diaz’s social anxiety is at the heart of his behavior around media appearances, and said in his own opinion that’s why Diaz has been a marijuana smoker for so long. However, that doesn’t excuse his actions this week, and Gracie believes Diaz should be in beggar mode here to smooth things over this week.
“Nick is like family to me. We’re going to have a long discussion, hopefully with Dana, to see if he’s still in the UFC or not,” Gracie said (as a side note, White said during Wednesday’s press conference that they haven’t made a decision on Diaz’s UFC future). “But let’s face it, Nick is 28 years old. I talked to Dana about this before, and I think a big problem with all of this is Nick has social anxiety… [But] you can’t just not show up and tell anyone anything.”
“I’ve always been there to facilitate things for him and stuck up for him even when he was wrong. If I were him, I would be calling Dana at some point basically begging for my job and giving [me] another chance to fight for the title.”
Penick’s Analysis: Diaz has blown his big opportunity in the UFC, and may not get a fight at all because of this. That leaves him without the lucrative contract from taking this title fight, and Strikeforce is no longer available to him either, so he doesn’t have free reign to do as he pleases. This is all on him, and social anxiety or no, he made promises when he signed with the UFC to do these appearances and to help hype the fight, and he’s completely screwed himself over here. When his own manager and trainer is embarrassed by his behavior and can’t come to his aid, there’s a problem, and the only thing that’s truly clear here is that Diaz cost himself the biggest fight and biggest payday of his career, and it’s absolutely a shame.