Following his loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 158, Nick Diaz made the bizarre statement that he had never paid taxes in his life and assumed he'd end up in jail. It was an unnecessary, but somewhat unsurprising, admission from the former Strikeforce champion and one that drew a fair amount of attention, serving as the lead headline from the event on ESPN.com for a few hours.
Diaz trainer Cesar Gracie was on Ariel Helwani's MMA Hour yesterday and discussed the situation (transcription via MixedMartialArts.com):
"I think he misspoke," said Gracie. "It's about filing. When I talked to Nick a couple of years ago it was about some tax issue he was having."
"He has paid taxes. I think he misspoke. It's about filing... He's not in any trouble that we're aware of. We haven't gotten any notices or anything."
"It's kind of weird for me to speak about stuff like that Because when we talk about fighting, it's fighting, but when you talk about taxes, hey, I'm not an accountant, obviously and that's a man's personal business. But, since he alluded to it, people have been texting me worried about it. It's fine. He has paid taxes. That's the weird thing. He would pay the tax, and probably even more than he owed, I think, in the past few years... So he has paid hundreds of thousands in taxes... I think his issue is he needs to properly file.
"He's got to get together with a good accountant and get his stuff in order like everybody else."
"For him to even bring that up after a fight was kind of off the wall."
The situation remains plenty murky, however:
A Canada based attorney Jonathan Tweedale said he had a personal relationship with Diaz, and offered a slightly different assessment of the mess.
"Nick thought Cesar was taking care of (taxes) for him, and Cesar wasn't," said Tweedale. "It doesn't mean Nick is screwed, but it does mean things need to be figured out."
Cesar however said he did not manage Diaz's money, and said Tweedale does not represent Diaz. Further, Gracie said he had previously referred Nick to several accountants.
"He never went to see them," said Gracie. "His girlfriend and his previous girlfriend have taken him to see CPAs. What they did with that is none of my business.
Whatever the case, overpaying on his taxes or not paying at all, Diaz would be well served to hire a professional to work with him to make sure that everything is in order going forward.
Tax issues have kept many a fighter in the ring (or cage) for much longer than they've wanted to while also ruining the financial security of their retirements.