Cesar Gracie Provides Statement On Nick Diaz No Show For Braulio Estima Match

Braulio Estima waits on the mat for Nick Diaz at the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo in Long Beach, Calif., on Saturday, May 12, 2012. Photo by Esther Lin of MMA Fighting.

In the wake of one of the most unusual collapses of a Brazilian jiu jitsu Superfight ever, Cesar Gracie has released a statement on his Gracie Fighter website. As usual, Cesar pulls zero shots and manages to swipe several different targets, while telling a compelling story.

The statement is broken into two sections. The first, much longer piece is Cesar's story of the event's inception and how Cesar and his cousins, Renzo and Rillion became involved (and how Rillion ended up dropping out). The second, much shorter opinion piece is quite possibly the most even-handed and admirable words I have ever seen from Cesar in my short time in the BJJ/MMA world.

The most crucial segment of the piece is quoted below:

Despite all of this Nick was still going to compete. He brought up Kron Gracie and prepared himself. Around this time I was informed by Junior that Braulio wanted to weigh in the day before and not right before the match as is the custom in IBJJ competitions and Abu Dhabi. At the time Nick was about 186lbs so I consented to both guys weighing in at 180lbs the night before.

Nick boarded a plane on Friday for Long Beach having cut 6 pounds for the weigh in that night. On his way there I got a call from Junior telling me Braulio would not be making weight! "Cesar Braulio is complaining about the weight cut. Can we have him weigh in tomorrow? He can't make the weight tonight how about 185 in the morning?"

Nick arrives in Long Beach to the news that there will be no weigh ins that night. As a professional with over 30 fights this was the final straw. The disrespect and total lack of professionalism given him convinced him he was at a circus not a professionally event.

At 3:20 in the morning I received a text from Junior that Braulio would in fact make the 180lbs weight class at 10:00AM. With no other option available I said fine I'll check with Nick in the morning. At 10:00AM Braulio did weigh in at 180lbs but by that time Nick had already left.

After reading the full statement, this writer is left with several questions:

  • Who is this mysterious Junior?
  • What does the contract signed between Nick and Braulio actually say?
  • Why was the weight such a big issue - especially when 5 pounds was at stake?
  • And why did Cesar insist upon a weigh-in for the Nick and Braulio match, but not for the matches of Alexis Davis and Caio Terra, two Gracie Fighter grapplers who would square off against Kyra Gracie and Jeff Glover?

The full statement is well worth the reading. The entirety of it is quoted below the jump. It goes into some detail about the suspicion and uncertainty that the less-than-ideal handling of the main Superfight caused and as usual, it is the Cesar Gracie truth and has to be looked at with some attention towards fact-checking.

Related Bloody Elbow Links: How the Nick Diaz-Braulio Estima Situation Spiraled Out of Control | Tweet of the Day: Braulio Estima Reacts to Nick Diaz No Show | Braulio/Diaz Superfight Live Discussion

Again, this is straight from Gracie Fighter.com and was penned by Cesar Gracie and reviewed by his attorney, Ross Goodman:

World Jiu-jitsu Expo and Nick Diaz


MAY 15, 2012

My decision to write an account of what happened this weekend is not to answer to the detractors of myself or my team, as no explanation is owed them. It is instead based on my acknowledgement and respect to our fans and supporters. I never thought I would be answering for something that happened at a grappling tournament, however with the worldwide popularity of the sport and my team increasing, I understand that our supporters need answers.
Below is a compilation of events in chronological order. I included the behind the scenes problems we had to let you, our supporters, know how things deteriorated.

In the month of February I was contacted by a Brazilian named Junior asking me if I wanted to participate in an Expo\Jiu-jitsu tournament. The goal was to put one of our team's stars in the event to attract sponsors and ensure it was successful. The event was not that far away and they desperately needed exposure. Junior stated that he was working with my uncle Rilion and my cousin Renzo on this project and they were in fact partners. Rilion and Renzo are 2 people that I greatly admire and respect and I was more than happy to partner up with them.

I discussed the idea with Nick Diaz and he readily agreed to enter in the black belt gi division. He did not seek any reimbursement. Junior thought it better for Nick to do a super fight as he thought this would be more of a spectacle and bring in more attention. Junior asked

Nick was not as enthusiastic but agreed on the condition that whoever was picked to go against him was not an mma fighter. He knew even a mediocre mma fighter would try to use a match and/or victory over him to further their career in mma. Nick believes a reputation as a fighter should only be earned in a ring or cage.
I relayed this to Junior and he agreed to arrange for a strict jiu-jitsu competitor.

In March I received the disturbing news from Rilion that Junior had broken his agreement with him. Rilion stated to me that Junior was registering all World Jiu-jitsu Expo names under his name alone and was no longer taking his phone calls. When contacted by me,Junior stated that he would no longer honor his financial obligations to Rilion because "Rilion was doing nothing and treats me like one of his clerks".
He then went on a tirade about Rilion which I interrupted and reminded him that Rilion was my family member and I would not listen to someone speaking negatively about him.

This rift left me in a dilemma. My instinct was to sever ties immediately. Rilion was my original jiu-jitsu instructor and his reputation as an honest person was impeccable. On the other hand we had already committed Diaz and Caio Terra. Our removal would destroy an event Renzo provided all of the funding for.

I consulted with Rilion who advised me to move forward with the event. He was the one that had brought Renzo into this project and convinced Renzo to fund it. He also still believed in the idea of an American tournament that paid the best BJJ guys on the planet to showcase their skills. We agreed to move forward without him since at this stage Junior had entrenched himself and his removal was impossible. Lastly Rilion warned me that Junior was not to be trusted and would undoubtedly try to cheat me and Renzo.

In early April I got the call from Junior asking what I thought of a Braulio Estima vs Nick Diaz matchup. I had heard of Braulio and knew he was a formidable jiu-jitsu practitioner. I was under the impression that Braulio competed in the close to 200lbs weight category.
When I asked Junior he assured me that Braulio could weigh in as little as 175 lbs right before the match.

I presented his information to Nick who accepted the matchup and seemed happy to go against the top BJJ player in the world at that weight. Nick started training for the match and I brought up several BJJ black belts to compliment his training.

Looking through some of Estima's youtube videos, it was soon discovered that he had in fact been planning on entering upon a career in mma. We wondered if the match with Diaz was a way to create a buzz around him and get him signed with a prominent organization.

I called Junior who assured me Estima would not be fighting in mma and that he had spoken with him and been assured he had given up on the idea of ever fighting. Junior reiterated, "Cesar I spoke with Braulio, the guy is in his 30′s, he has a family and doesn't want to live that type of life at this stage in his life...etc"

I repeated this info to Nick.
A week or so later it was all over the Internet that Braulio had joined the "Blackzillians" and was training for an mma fight. We had been lied to. Furthermore it was evident that Nick's sole condition that he not go against a wanna be mma guy was violated and this was in fact an attempt by Braulio to ignite an mma career.

Nick was to have been accurately portrayed as a fighter returning to his BJJ roots. He had even agreed to give his entire purse to charity; St Jude's Children's Hospital for kids with cancer. If you know the story of Ralph Gracie's son you would understand why this charity was chosen. His name having been added to this event had saved it but now it was clear he was to be the patsy, not respected but used.

Despite all of this Nick was still going to compete. He brought up Kron Gracie and prepared himself. Around this time I was informed by Junior that Braulio wanted to weigh in the day before and not right before the match as is the custom in IBJJ competitions and Abu Dhabi. At the time Nick was about 186lbs so I consented to both guys weighing in at 180lbs the night before.

Nick boarded a plane on Friday for Long Beach having cut 6 pounds for the weigh in that night. On his way there I got a call from Junior telling me Braulio would not be making weight! "Cesar Braulio is complaining about the weight cut. Can we have him weigh in tomorrow? He can't make the weight tonight how about 185 in the morning?"

Nick arrives in Long Beach to the news that there will be no weigh ins that night. As a professional with over 30 fights this was the final straw. The disrespect and total lack of professionalism given him convinced him he was at a circus not a professionally event.

At 3:20 in the morning I received a text from Junior that Braulio would in fact make the 180lbs weight class at 10:00AM. With no other option available I said fine I'll check with Nick in the morning. At 10:00AM Braulio did weigh in at 180lbs but by that time Nick had already left.

Opinion

As for Braulio I still respect him as a great BJJ artist. As far as calling Nick out for a mma fight, he knows that is impossible because Nick is signed with the UFC and in mma you have to make weight when they want you to. Not when you want to. If Braulio ever finds success in mma then he can mention Nick's name for a fight. Right now he should respect the man.

Nick is not without fault by any means. His lack of communication with his team and coach was inexcusable. This will be addressed privately.

Renzo and I have spoken and we are committed to continuing with this otherwise awesome event....without the services of Junior.

It should be noted that Nick paid to St Jude's Children's Hospitable the sum of what would have been his entire purse.

Thank you,

You have my apologies and my respect

Cesar Gracie

To cross-check this in full is an enormous task that would require the contacting of Rillion, Renzo, Cesar, Nick, Braulio and the mysterious Junior as well as any other unknown actors in this BJJ drama. However, Cesar's words regarding the weigh-ins can be looked at with a discerning eye.

Braulio states on Twitter (as well as in interviews) that the weigh-ins were not delineated within the contract:

@jonsweep broo I haven't got a clue where this came about. Specially that there was no weigh ins specified time or date it was pretty friendly thing

More information regarding Braulio's view of weigh-in things came on Twitter. First, he replied to Layzie:

It never was agreed on my side neither no one csme forwards to tell me that the weigh in would be right before the match RT @LayzieTheSavage @OhhhDaBeaver They originally asked to make weight right before the match. Not that morning. Everything was changing last minute.

And then corrected Layzie on what ADCC-style weigh-ins are like:

Adcc style is on day before the match btw RT @LayzieTheSavage @OhhhDaBeaver He made weight after he came forward and said he couldn't make 180 right before the match (ADCC style) like originally planned

Braulio is correct in saying that ADCC style is to weigh in the day before. However, Cesar says Abu Dhabi, which usually refers to ADCC, but could actually refer to the Abu Dhabi World Pro (a recent high-level grappling tournament held by a different organization than the ADCC). The World Pro also weighs in the day before. The IBJJF is different in that the regular competitors generally weigh in right before they step on the mats.

However, for Superfights, weigh-ins are vanishingly rare and usually the competitors are within the same general weight divisions. For the other four Superfights that evening, no weigh-ins were held - even with the other matches involving Gracie Fighter members. Having a difference in weights of five pounds the night before or the day of is usually not regarded as a Superfight-killing weight disparity in BJJ. In MMA, where strikes are allowed, it is a different story, but even in this event alone, several grapplers were dealing with opponents that were possibly ten to twenty pounds larger and chose to carry on.

Further complicating matters, Renzo Gracie works with the ADCC, World Pro and IBJJF organizations at different times, so the lines about what rules are what can get a bit fuzzy. Apparently things got downright blurry when Junior got involved. From Cesar's account, it appears that Junior was making arbitrary decisions and trying to please both sides at once, while failing miserably at doing so for either. The exact involvement of this Junior is not publicly known, but it would be unlikely for Cesar and Renzo to criticize him without there being some validity to it.

The actual weigh-ins took place at 10:00 AM PST Saturday morning and were done on scales provided by Cesar Gracie himself and witnessed by Lana Stefanac, a Gracie Fighter black belt and coach of Alexis Davis. Stefanac promptly notified Cesar of the 180 lb mark being reached and most of the competitors and BJJ world proceeded on with the assumption that the Diaz/Estima Superfight was still on.

From then on, the story is mostly known - although whether Nick actually left the vicinity by 10:00 AM is unsure and his specific reasoning for the famous no show may never be known to anyone outside his trusted circle.

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