Cesar Gracie has been in the news over the past few days as much as anyone due to the Nick Diaz situation.
Now, with Diaz set to face off with B.J. Penn instead of UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre next month, Gracie discusses the problems that caused the change in plans by the UFC.
Gracie has helped train Diaz train since he was a teenager, while also helping make him a better person at the same time. That is why what happened between Diaz and the UFC was so hard for Gracie to see. But, the long-time trainer has no plans to abandon his student.
“Nick is like family. People don’t understand that you can get mad, you can get mad at your brother because it doesn’t mean anything,” Gracie said. “Some people read into it like I kicked him off the team. I don’t care what he does in the UFC. I mean I care but I’m not going to kick him off the team over it.”
Gracie called UFC President Dana White during Wednesday’s press conference to promote the pay-per-view, telling White he agreed with the decision to remove Diaz from the main event. Now, after stepping back, he has some different opinions on the matter.
“I talked to Dana after he pulled the fight. I explained why it was a mistake to pull the fight. I understood. I was as mad at Nick as anybody. When I calmed down a little bit and looked at the situation, I said not only am I Nick’s trainer, manager… whatever, but I’m also a fan of the sport,” Gracie said. “And I’m thinking, ‘Why is Dana punishing the fans of the sport?’ Punish Nick. Fine him a fat hefty fine. Do whatever you’re gonna do and punish him. All he did was miss a press conference. Seriously? Did one fan in this world even care? It did not make sense to me. I told them this afterwards.”
Gracie feels his relationship with White will survive this issue.
“I respect Dana, I do. I know he was put in a tough spot and I understand that the fighter has to be there for a press conference,” Gracie stated. “No fighter likes to do press conference, but like Dana said, ‘If I don’t have Nick do it, who’s going to do it?’ He was in a tough spot and he has done a wonderful job making the sport as big as it is. I think we get along pretty good.”
With all the Diaz-GSP hoopla over with, everyone can focus in on Diaz vs.Penn.
“[Penn] is the better fighter of the two. Georges St-Pierre is the bigger fighter of the two. He can beat people by being bigger or whatever. But this is the better fighter of the two. He’s more technical. He’s got a better ground game. He’s got a better stand-up game,” said Gracie. “No one is talking about the Condit [vs. St-Pierre] fight. If you go and want to look this up on a forum, they are talking about Nick Diaz and why isn’t he fighting GSP? Not disrespecting any of those two guys, but there’s no story there [between Condit and St-Pierre]. Where’s the story?
“So, no longer is that fight the main event. It’s Diaz and Penn.”
UFC 137: St-Pierre vs. Condit takes place on October 29 from Las Vegas, Nevada.