The past week has been a non-stop binge of stories about the five-year suspension handed down to UFC Welterweight Nick Diaz by Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and the various reaction by fans, fighters, referees and mixed martial arts insiders.
At this point I think all that could be said about Diaz has been said. Almost. There's one man everybody wanted to hear from and, until today, he hadn't commented.
Ever outspoken UFC President Dana White was "Down Under" in Australia late last week, doing promotional media for UFC 193: "Rousey vs. Holm" in Melbourne. When confronted by reporters about Diaz, White was hesitant to comment, but did share a few thoughts:
"We've been here (Australia). When this thing went down, we've been here. And many people who know me and know the sport, I've been a very reactionary person in the past. I'm a little older and a little wiser now. I don't just react, I have to know all the facts. I don't know all the facts, you know. When you hear this - because it's so jarring when you hear this. It's like, wait a minute, this guy was suspended for five years and got a $150,000* fine for marijuana? So you can completely take that out of context too, but that's his third offense. It's his third offense, and let's all be honest here, Nick Diaz doesn't exactly play by the rules. You know, listen, everybody would love to hang out and smoke weed all day and not play by the rules. It sounds awesome. It's sounds like, you know, it sounds like the great thing to do (laughs). But, in reality, you can't do that, and especially when you're dealing with the government. Nick was also in a situation where Nick hadn't paid his taxes in a long time, you know. You can't do that either. So it has to be more than 'hey the guy smoked weed and...' - I don't know all the facts yet. We're leaving tomorrow morning. When I get home, I will hear all the facts. I promise you, you will hear from me soon on the Nick Diaz situation. I have to figure out all the facts first."
*Diaz was actually slapped with a $165,000 fine
White isn't a very reactionary person anymore? I guess he's turned over a new leaf since his recent comments about UFC fans being "drunk dummies" and "morons."
At any rate, for a "no comment" kind of comment this was actually rather revealing of White's mindset about the situation. In one sense he sounds sympathetic, but on the other hand he questions Diaz's maturity level and ability to behave as a responsible adult.
If some people didn't understand White's comment about Diaz not paying his taxes, he's referring to this post-fight gem from the Stockton, Calif. fighter in 2013. His manager, Cesar Gracie, later clarified that Diaz is up-to-date with the folks from the Internal Revenue Agency.
It will be interesting to see if UFC, or by proxy Dana White, intercedes on behalf of Diaz once "all the facts" are gathered. If one thing seems certain, it's that UFC executive Matt Hughes won't be leading the charge,