The last time we saw Nick Diaz, he was talking about never paying his taxes after his UFC 158 loss to Georges St. Pierre. He talked about different fights, and also talked about retirement. Then he holed up and we didn't hear anything for a while. Word finally leaked that Diaz was looking to start his own MMA promotion in Stockton, which drew a few chuckles. But WAR MMA is now licensed and their first show is going down on June 22nd.
Nick's legal representative Jonathan Tweedale was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss Nick's career and the new promotion. First off, he discusses the roots of the promotion idea:
"The idea was to throw a show here locally, and the concept just grew and grew. "Folks are interested anytime Nick is doing something, so this has become bigger than I think he originally envisioned...in terms of the attention that's being put on it and as a response to that, the things that he wants to do."
"The genesis in his thought was he was looking at a bunch of the guys around on the team and the in community that weren't on his team, and thinking about whether they had adequate opportunities to fight. The thought was that a new promotion would provide a much needed opportunity for a lot of these guys to advance their careers. So, in part, it's about giving back to the sport and to the folks around him that have helped him along the way, and, in part, it's a new project to build something for his own future."
"If this was solely about dollars and cents then, yeah, he'd be out there whoring himself around to the media. But he wants the attention on the fighters and the promotion. It's a different model from the UFC's model where Dana White is biggest star that the UFC has. That's not how Nick is envisioning proceeding here."
He also stated that every idea for the promotion runs through Diaz, but wouldn't confirm if he was completely bankrolling the promotion or not. He then was asked about Nick's future as a fighter:
"Of course these guys want to fight him. Anyone would want to fight a legendary figure in the sport. The problem is, for them, he's retired, and unless there's a very good reason to step out of retirement, I don't see that changing."
He stated that Nick won't be fighting for his own promotion because retirement doesn't free him up from his UFC contract, and also gave a bit of an explanation of why they made a big deal out of the weight controversy at UFC 158. Finally, he talked about a possible return to the octagon for Diaz and what it would take:
"That depends on two things. It depends on whether the fans really want to see him in a really interesting match-up, and it depends whether Nick is willing to come out of retirement and bring the fans a really, really big match.
"It's just difficult to imagine anything not involving one of those two fighters (GSP or Anderson Silva), at this point in time, that would be sufficient. But you're right, maybe in three years the landscape has totally changed. Anderson is long retired, GSP is retired, there's a new welterweight champ that's held the belt for a couple years. Who knows? You can never predict the future. But as of now, he's retired, and I don't see that changing anytime in the imminent future."
Somehow I doubt that Diaz is retired. Does he return to the octagon this year? Next year?