Earlier this week, former No. 1 Lightweight title challenger, Nate Diaz, was noticeably absent from the latest round of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) official rankings.
Conspiracy theories swirled, from it being a simple mistake to UFC and Diaz parting ways.
Company president Dana White was a guest on "UFC Tonight" earlier this evening (watch the video here) and attempted to clarify the situation, calling it a deliberate move because of Diaz's "inactivity."
However, Diaz most recently waxed Gray Maynard at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 Finale in Nov. 30, 2013. That's less than six months ago, which doesn't really make much sense, considering former Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz -- who has not seen the inside of the Octagon in more than two years because of various injuries -- currently holds the No. 9 spot in the 135-pound division.
When gently pressed by show hosts Chael Sonnen and Kenny Florian to elaborate, White rationalized that T.J. Grant was also removed from the rankings, even though he has been dealing with serious brain-related trauma (concussions). Of course, the analogy makes no sense just based on the aforementioned Cruz example alone.
In fact, former Middleweight champion Anderson Silva is clogging two spots, one on the pound-for-pound list and the 185-pound rankings. And he's out for more than one year thanks to a shattered shin.
White sprinkled in that Diaz was "turning down fights" and "hasn’t accepted any fights (not responding to offers)" and is unsure if, or when, he's ever going to fight again.
His partial quote (transcribed by FOX Sports 1):
"Everyone is talking about Nate Diaz being removed and so has T.J. Grant, for inactivity. Early on we let Dominick Cruz hold the title for as long as we did. But it's unfair for the guys who are staying active. When you have a guy like T.J. Grant and they have an injury, that's pretty serious so they get dropped, but when they come back, they'll get added back. The same for Diaz -- he's not taking any fights and we're not sure when he will. When he comes back, he'll be ranked again."
In other words, White and Co. are sending Diaz a message that as long as he continues to rabble-rouse on social media and be difficult to deal with, he will not be recognized as a Top 6 fighter in the 155-pound division.