Braulio Estima waiting, wondering if Nick Diaz thought it was 'no-go' instead of 'no-gi'. Photo by Esther Lin via MMA Fighting.
With Nick Diaz no showing at the World Jiu Jitsu Expo last night in Long Beach, California, he continued his habit of not being able to 'play the game', as UFC President Dana White once famously put it. Leaving his opponent Braulio Estima, the crowd in attendance and those who had bought the online Pay Per View in the lurch, Diaz continues to be unreliable as evident by his drug test failure in wake of the championship fight with Carlos Condit, as well as missing press conferences that cost him a shot at the UFC Welterweight title to begin with.
Due to his unreliability and behaviour, should Submission Grappling and MMA Promoters blacklist Nick Diaz from here on out?
T.P. Grant: If Diaz can't be relied on to show up for a grappling match, that in the grand scheme of things didn't mean anything, he has blacklisted himself. "Does Nick Diaz show up?" will be a question that is asked every time he is scheduled to appear on shows from here to the end of his career.
The worst part is, the people around him seem to refuse that it is a problem. Cesar Gracie, as Nick's coach, mentor and teacher, should be pushing Nick to get help if his social problems are really this bad, but instead he makes excuses. I think Cesar has lost sight of the line between teacher and friend, and is no longer acting in Nick's best interests.
KJ Gould: If Diaz is true to his word and stays retired from MMA, it may not be an issue promoters have to consider. Since it's often hard to believe whenever a fighter as young as Diaz retires and sticks with it, promoters are in the bind of wondering if it's worth the risk counting on Diaz even if he can bring some money in.
I think MMA and Grappling promoters should blacklist Diaz, to send a universal message about what happens to those who mess about and fail to act like a professional. Of course I can't see that happening, and there will be some promoters who will take a punt and find out the hard way.
Diaz didn't just let his opponent, audience and fans down, he let down a charity: the St Jude's Children's Hospital, who he was in effect representing with his purse meant to go to them. It'd be good if the promoters made the donation regardless, but it doesn't look good on Diaz and shouldn't fill anyone with confidence that he's worth the time or effort to work with in the future.
Brent Brookhouse: I think the point where you no show charity events is where it becomes inexcusable. Now we're starting to hear all the excuses. If there were issues with the weigh in or worries that the money wasn't going to be donated to charity, it's not like Nick and his people don't know how to get in touch with the media ahead of time. Instead, it's more selfish nonsense where nobody matters to Nick but Nick.
If it was an issue with the weights? Who cares? It's for charity and it wasn't like it was something that mattered in the long term. I know it sucks, but just talk about it before and after the fight, letting people know that it's not at the agreed upon weight. No showing is never the way to handle something like this.
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KJ Gould: Certain things don't add up about the excuses. Braulio Estima appeared to make weight 5 hours before the match, where as Diaz supposedly made weight the day before and had eaten. If anyone was at a disadvantage going onto the mat, it was Estima, and same day weigh-ins are pretty typical of most grappling events. Day before weigh-ins are reserved for Boxing and MMA because of the striking impact issue and brain hydration, among other things. Cesar Gracie off all people knows this.
Then you have Estima showing up and doing everything professionally, after international traveling through multiple time zones, while comparatively Diaz only has to come from down the road.
If there is any kind of issue with the money involved, that's where lawyers come in. Diaz and his camp have a really good one fighting the NSAC at the moment, so it's not as if they don't know where to look. Even then, when a small promotion like this (compared to the UFC) is putting on a show, getting paid once the gate takings and revenues collected post-event is pretty common.
I think a lot of what we've been hearing is excuse and unfounded speculation. Diaz is just a head case that's talented at fighting, but the amount of time and money invested in him is producing diminishing returns. He's no longer worth it.
Fraser Coffeen: As a promoter you have to weigh the pros and cons of booking Diaz. The pros are obvious - he's a name that has a lot of interest and he'll draw eyes to your product. This weekend's show is a prime example, as we gave it far more coverage than we would have without Diaz involved.
But the cons are that it creates huge troubles for you down the line. In the short term - how will this weekend's promoters respond to the requests for a refund they are sure to get? In the long term, this reflects poorly on the organization. While the blame belongs on Diaz, fans who got screwed this time won't always see that and may be hesitant to buy your product next time. To me, those cons outweigh the pros, so yes, he should not be booked.
Will that happen? No way. Because smaller organizations (and maybe even that one really big organization) are willing to roll the dice. The pros are going to happen - he WILL draw interest in your show. The cons? They might happen, or they might not. Promoters will still take that gamble in the interest of viewer-ship, and Diaz will just keep burning them.
Ben Thapa: The word "blacklist" is not one we should be using. That concept implies that no matter what situation arises, the person being blacklisted would never, ever be part of the deal. They are excluded in totality. Persona non grata.
You cannot do that with Nick Diaz. He is too skilled, too controversial and ultimately, too popular to exclude like that. The solution rests in opening honest and constant communications with Nick himself and not with his hangers-on - for I believe this missed Superfight debacle rests squarely upon Nick allowing the hangers-on around him to make him angry and paranoid.
The continually belligerent and disconnected-from-reality Tweets, comments and words of the coterie surrounding Nick Diaz are indicative of an arrangement that truly does not serve Nick well. They serve as a bizarre echo chamber that mixes some facts, large helpings of conspiracy theories and the occasional dollop of self-serving nonsense into a corrosive atmosphere that works to Nick's detriment. The echo chamber does not confound Gil Melendez, Jake Shields or Nate Diaz - for they show up and they battle their hearts out.
Nick has never been one to reach out and establish honest-if-not-congenial relationships with promoters, organizers or his opponents. They come to him and the unsettling of his opponents is always a desired goal of the Diaz brothers. However, that hurts Nick because when uncertainty over weigh-in arrangements starts, he can't get a clear, coherent answer from the promoters themselves and instead trusts those around him to have a secure grasp upon the truth and his best interest in heart.
That did not happen and thus the fight did not happen. Nick Diaz is a very talented combat sports enthusiast, training in sambo, Brazilian jiu jitsu, wrestling, boxing, Muay Thai, judo and more. He is perhaps a more dedicated martial artist than someone like Georges St. Pierre. But he cannot stick to a schedule that gets him the fame and fortune he wants if he keeps trusting the people around him. They won't let him.
That is what separates GSP from Nick - the professionalism and the showing up come hell or high water. Nick used to have that reputation, but the UFC 137 debacle combined with this no show means Nick is sliding in a bad direction and it has absolutely nothing to do with his fighting skills or will to battle.
In the end, Nick Diaz is still worth it for promoters as a draw and as a fighter to watch.
KJ Gould: With Diaz's history, and with him seemingly needing a nanny more than a manager to care for him when it comes to anything 'fight business' related, exclusion in totality looks like an attractive option. No matter how talented and popular he is, promoters should be genuinely concerned about not seeing a return on their investment.
If promoters constructed contracts to protect themselves and make Diaz financially accountable, because he's 'high risk', is that something they could even get Diaz to sign?
Ben Thapa: One of the oddest things about Diaz's sticking point being the weight thing is that essentially none of the BJJ fights that night took place with two people of the exact same size. For example, Caio Terra gave up anywhere from ten to twenty pounds to Jeff Glover. When you only weigh 130ish pounds, those extra lbs really matter - much more so than the five to seven pounds Nick was worried about at 180ish lbs.
KJ Gould: Plus it's not like Diaz has never competed in anything that high in weight before, even in MMA against guys like Scott Smith and Frank Shamrock.
Steph Daniels: I find it odd that none of the other competitors on the card had to weigh in except Braulio (he was even observed by a member from the Diaz camp), and why didn't Diaz weigh in with a member of Estima's camp present?
Jack Slack: I don't think that Nick needs to be blacklisted from anything, but I do believe he needs to be broken of his silly whims. He has spent the last 5 years being pampered by Strikeforce; normally one of the highest paid fighters on the card, choosing his own opponents, never having to fight a decent wrestler. The UFC didn't do much better in treating him like a normal fighter - promise of an instant title shot, then a fight with a lightweight boxer in a division stacked with top ranked wrestlers.
He'll need the money again soon I'm sure, and after all the crap he's pulled, the UFC will likely try to find some way of giving him a slap in the face - perhaps a match against a tough spoiler like Mike Pierce or Jon Fitch with no promise of a title shot. We can only hope.
Dallas Winston: The thought of "blacklisting" Nick Diaz in the fight business is just unrealistic. He's so freakishly talented in so many different ways and I can't imagine a unified ban specifically for him, in MMA or grappling. I'm a huge fan of Nick Diaz and accepted a long time ago that we're all just along for the ride.
Yesterday, before the grappling event, I was thinking about what a win-win situation this was for NIck. If he loses or gets submitted -- so what? It's Braulio f**king Estima. If he won or was even competitive, it would drastically increase his mystique and drawing power. Unfortunately, the no-show emphasized his unpredictability. Being a complete wild card has always been a big part of his appeal, but lately it's been too much unpredictability, and without the showcase performances to compensate.
Steph Daniels: And no, I don't think he should be blacklisted. I wouldn't be adverse to him being assigned a handler, though. I think certain personalities need to be guided through their commitments, and he's definitely one of those people. Missed flights, pressers, seminars and jiu jitsu charity matches all equate to one thing. He needs a firmer hand nudging him in the right direction. A PR agent or firm might be wise also, because there seems to be nobody at the wheel in that department either.
T.P. Grant: I don't think nick diaz should be blacklisted either but each time he does this he hurts himself. I don't think anyone can put him in as a headliner at this point and feel comfortable about it. I don't think he will get black listed, but it will limit future oppurtunties.