USA TODAY Sports
Fox offers comment on Nate Diaz giving Ben Henderson middle fingers during their UFC main event. But the larger issue is the continued unprofessional behavior from the Diaz brothers.
We live in weird times. While it's okay to watch to men beat each other up in a cage or a ring on network TV, it is still not okay for "curse words" or gestures like "flipping the bird" to appear on said network. So when Nate Diaz flipped off Ben Henderson during their UFC on Fox main event it forced the UFC production truck to cut away from the action. Not cut to a different camera or a long shot of the cage, but to a shot of an empty arena with no commentary.
It was an awkward moment in the broadcast that actually made the production look shoddy during the biggest fight of the night.
Fox issued a statement to MMA Fighting on the situation:
"It’s not appropriate for air, but the folks in the UFC’s production truck were on the ball. They cut away so quickly that it was virtually indiscernible to the naked eye. We regret even a small fraction of a second snuck through."
Of course, the issue isn't really so much with the UFC or with societal nonsense where a specific finger has been given the "that's naughty!" treatment.
It's with Nate showing once again that the Diaz brothers don't have an ounce of professionalism in them. With Nick it's the weed thing. Where, regardless of if it is stupid that it's banned, it's still banned and he doesn't bother to get things square with the commission ahead of a title fight (and by his post fight actions it's pretty clear he knew what he did). Or his failures to promote fights as expected.
Now we see that Nate can't accept the opportunity he'd been given to fight on network TV and keep himself in check. If the production truck was ready to cut away as quickly as they did, they clearly had been informed that it was a possibility. But if they were ready for it, I guarantee Nate had been told ahead of time not to do it.
Sure, some of the blame falls on the UFC for putting a Diaz in that position -- they should have learned that they can't handle basic expectations by now -- but at some point an adult needs to be an adult.
Again, it's not that the act was vile and some betrayal of social expectations that demands apology to the fragile American public. But the UFC only gets so many chances on Fox each year and Nate provided unnecessary distractions in terms of the broadcast and may have created new worries in Fox's mind going forward. Not that the network is going to pull UFC shows or anything of that nature, but in year one of a deal you'd like the network to not worry about stupid, completely unnecessary things like this.
Fox cameras caught A.J. Hawk flipping the bird at his own sideline last year in an NFL game and it cost him $10,000. The Tennessee Titans owner was hit with $250,000 for giving Buffalo Bills fans the finger in 2009 and defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil was hit with $40,000 for the same gesture to the refs in 2010, another incident caught on camera. So remember that the other sports leagues that Fox deals with have handled these situations in the past in an effort to curb such behavior. They're giving the airtime so "it's a fight, get over it" probably isn't a good enough excuse for them over the longterm.