Nick Diaz is out of UFC 137 because he was unwilling to attend press conferences and promote the fight. His longtime friend and trainer, Cesar Gracie, has no sympathy for his fighter in this situation.
Speaking to MMAWeekly.com on Wednesday after the news broke, Gracie explained the limited amount of information he has to go on, simply because he can’t track Diaz down either.
The bottom line is, however, Gracie feels what the UFC chose to do was the right thing, and he can’t blame them for moving on and taking Diaz out of the fight.
“He knew he was supposed to be at both of them, and didn’t get there. I spoke to him yesterday, and it was all about getting him to Vegas yesterday, and the last time I heard from him he was on his way to the airport. That’s about it,” Gracie explained.
“I was pretty pissed off when I first heard about this, obviously for our team, and personally it’s something I’ve worked for, for so many years. Bringing this kid from Stockton (Calif.) when he was 16 and making him this world-class fighter, and for him at this moment to do something this stupid, and not show up for something he was supposed to show up to, it’s very frustrating to me to say the least.”
Gracie actually called UFC president Dana White during the UFC 137 pre-fight press conference on Wednesday – one that Diaz was supposed to have attended – and spoke to him while the cameras were still rolling.
The conversation was brief, but Gracie could do nothing but apologize and sympathize with the choice the UFC had to make.
“I did speak to Dana about all this, and I think he’s 100-percent correct in pulling him from this fight. Because I would have done the same thing,” said Gracie.
“He would have shown up and fought, (but) there’s just certain things you have to do when you’re a man, like promote the fight, and I think this goes to teach everybody no one is greater than the sum of the UFC. You have to have respect for people and organizations, and I think Nick didn’t do that.”
Gracie, who has worked with Diaz for the past 12 years, admitted that his relationship with the fighter may have changed as a result of this entire debacle. When Diaz was still the Strikeforce welterweight champion, Gracie campaigned to get him the shot at St-Pierre, and now that it’s all fallen apart, he’s says it’s going to take a lot to rebuild that bridge.
“I’m disappointed. When he was 16 it was one thing; he’s 28 now. He’s been like family to me, I’ve known him for that long, and worked with him so closely. Does it change our relationship? Well, he’s going to have to earn that trust back again is the way I look at it,” said Gracie.
“I know we all need more chances in life, we all make stupid mistakes in our lives. Nick has never had a real job, he doesn’t know what it’s like, like a lot of Americans have to do, get up work two jobs like a lot of us to put food on the table and here he’s given this opportunity, where he beats this guy it’s like winning the lottery and he doesn’t get on a plane to Vegas or Canada or whatever. You can’t do that. There’s no way you can do that.”
Diaz has still been unreachable by phone, but Gracie believes that his fighter probably thought he could skip the press conference like he’s done with so many in the past, and it would just be overlooked. Not so much this time however.
“He probably thought he’s done this before where he’s like ‘I probably don’t have to do this and I’ll just go in there and fight’ and that’s not life unfortunately,” Gracie explained.
As for Diaz’s future, Gracie isn’t sure what that holds. The whole scenario unfolded in the last 24 hours and he still hasn’t spoken to him, but Gracie admits he feels no sympathy for Diaz in this situation.
“I don’t feel sorry for him. I do feel sorry for people that bought tickets for him, his supports. He let my whole team down at this point. I feel terrible about it. I told Dana White I was actually embarrassed about this situation,” Gracie said.
“This is not what Gracie Jiu-Jitsu means to me in my whole thing about teaching. You’ve got to have responsibility; Nick has shown no responsibility when it came to this.”
It remains to be seen if Diaz will get another shot with the UFC or not, but Dana White sounded on Wednesday as if he were leaning towards releasing the former Strikeforce welterweight champion.
One thing is for sure, Nick Diaz won’t be fighting Georges St-Pierre at UFC 137, and he has no one to blame but himself.