As I'm sure you're aware by now, Nick Diaz didn't show up in Toronto or Las Vegas for press conferences related to his UFC 137 welterweight title fight with Georges St. Pierre, and was promptly removed from the card and replaced by Carlos Condit. During the press conference, Nick's trainer Cesar Gracie actually called Dana White and said he had no idea where Diaz was. Gracie spoke to MMA Junkie shortly after that, and was straight up and honest about the situation:
"I don't blame Dana White on this at all. This is a professional company, and Nick is a 28-year-old man."
Gracie has defended Diaz from all sorts of criticism, often taking it to some funny extremes. But he sure doesn't have Nick's back in this case:
"I've stuck up for Nick, even when he was wrong before," Gracie said. "But he's let a lot of people down. He's let his team down. We all bought plane tickets to Vegas. We got hotel rooms booked, paid for. We've got all that, and Nick just decided not to go to something he's supposed to. They're paying him a lot of money, and in this economy where people don't have money, he's blessed. He should be thanking God every night how blessed he is.
"And instead, he's not getting on a plane to go to Vegas. I'm extremely disappointed. He's done a lot of stuff, but this is the worst of it. If I were him, I would be begging Dana White to get my job back and work your way up to a title shot at some point."
On what he thinks is wrong with Diaz:
"I'm not a psychologist," he said. "I personally think there's some kind of social anxiety happening here with Nick. Dana said, 'You've got to play the game this much.' And this isn't even playing the game. This is about being a man and being responsible. And Nick has done neither in this situation.
"He's a great jiu-jitsu guy. He's a great fighter. I'm saying this because I care deeply about the guy. He's one of my black belts. But in this situation, he is 100 percent wrong, and he got what he deserved."
Stinging words indeed, especially from someone that has shielded Diaz from media scrutiny a lot in the past. It seems that Nick is truly on his own with this one. I hope he is able to get past whatever it is that's troubling him. It's a sad situation.