You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more loyal and tightly knit group of training partners than the crew on Cesar Gracie’s fight team — that’s why it’s surprising to hear Gracie publicly chastise his longtime pupil Nick Diaz for blowing his chance to fight for the UFC title.
After no-showing his third straight press conference, missing several flights which the UFC had paid for, Diaz was pulled from his highly-anticipated welterweight title fight with UFC champ Georges St-Pierre and replaced with Carlos Condit. Gracie told MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani this afternoon that he simply can’t countenance the capricious Diaz’s latest stunt.
“There’s a lot of hard workers I see that have trouble putting food on the table for their kids,” Gracie said. “I’ve stuck up for Nick a lot, but I can’t stick up for him on this one.”
In the middle of the press conference, Gracie called UFC president Dana White to apologize and admit his embarrassment over the issue. He explained that he’d been keeping Diaz at his house, but that the 28-year-old snuck out through the back door to avoid dealing with his media obligations.
“I would have driven him to Vegas if it came to that,” Gracie said. “I don’t care. He just turned his phone off and acted like a little kid. It just doesn’t cut it.”
Not only did Diaz not show up for the pressers, he did so after repeatedly telling White that he would catch the flights and be there. Gracie explained that he believes Diaz’s social anxiety, which he treats by using marijuana, is the impetus behind the Stockton native’s erratic behavior — though he admits it’s not a suitable excuse for a grown man.
“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. 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. He doesn’t like to go and be away from home. He has no trouble fighting in the cage, though,” Gracie said. “You can’t just not show up and tell anyone anything.”
White explained at the press conference that, as of now, Diaz has not been cut, but that his release from the UFC would be the likely outcome of this situation.
“I’ve always been there to facilitate things for him and stuck up for him even when he was wrong,” he said. “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.”