The strange saga of the UFC’s attempts to lure Nick Diaz back to the ring continues.
UFC president Dana White said at the weekend he had offered Diaz a fight but that his management had refused it. Diaz countered by telling Fighters Only yesterday that he doesn’t have a manager at present and that no fight has been offered to him.
Today he has offered more details on the current situation. For most of his career, Cesar Gracie served as his trainer-manager. That is no longer the case. Gracie remains on the scene in a coaching capacity but Diaz doesn’t have a representative.
“I’ve not had a manager since my last fight. I would like people to know that I was never offered any fight [recently]. I haven’t had a manager, I told Dana that I didn’t want anyone representing me after what happened with my last training camp,” he tells Fighters Only.
That “last training camp” was for his welterweight title shot against Georges St. Pierre. At the time, there were plenty of rumors that all was not well in Camp Diaz and that there was a strain in his relationship with Gracie because of that.
“I didn’t get a good camp in at all. I was doing it all by myself really, with a few of my old training partners like Gil Castillo, Val Ignatov my Sambo coach, plus a few of my students and my brother. A lot of money was supposed to be spent on that camp but it didn’t happen,” he says.
“Then when the same thing happened with my brother, that’s when I threw the towel in with Cesar as far as management is concerned. Its one thing it happening to me but when it happened to my brother I take it more personal. So that’s really why I haven’t had a plan for a new fight.
“I feel really dumb right now, if I had known better I could have acted and trained accordingly. No money went into that training camp except me taking care of sparring partners out of my own pocket, and whatever I spent on gas getting to training.
“Cesar used to set up really good training but lately he pretty much stopped teaching and training, he has brought in new guys from Brazil to do the training and that has changed things at the gym.
“He is a really good jiu jitsu teacher but I think once he brought these guys in to do the teaching, that is when things changed with my camps. I didn’t take any offense until my brother last that last fight.
“I will always be a Cesar Gracie black belt and a Gracie fighter, that will never change. Things started with Cesar, and I am with the same team and the same people. But I do need something new.
“I think I will always have my main training partners that I need, and there’s a lot more gyms these days that would love to have us train there. Its just a case of getting it coordinated. I like training at Gil’s place, or CSA and Lodi. Plus a lot of boxing gyms.
“Some of my old-school Jiu Jitsu guys opened a place too because they weren’t into how the new Brazilians were doing it at Cesar’s, treating brown belts and purple belts the same as white belts.
“I think that really limits people. I know their game and I know they’re not better than me. If anything they are limited themselves.
“With Cesar I think we felt like we had a good head coach but now I think really we just had a good jiu jitsu coach [albeit] maybe the best jiu jitsu coach in the world. I give him credit for that and for putting me in fights when I was 17. I think he knew I would be a gold mine, I am glad he took an interest.”
Diaz’s retirement, announced after the loss to St Pierre, may not be as concrete as was once thought. Though if he is to return, he wants the paydays to be worth it. “If I do fight again I want a lot more money. I’m living in this ghetto ass apartment because I haven’t been making the money that I should have been making.”
“Everything around that last fight was wrong. GSP didn’t make weight for that fight, he didn’t. And who knows by how much, really? Then after the weigh-ins I had an IV, to get fluids back. The guy had just done Georges and he did mine, I felt really weird after it. Something wasn’t right about it.
“Between that and Georges not making weight and all the media pressure I had a lot on my mind. I’ve never felt worse for any fight in my life. I would say I was like 80% at best.”
For the time being he remains retired, but Diaz is surely only the right negotiation away from stepping back in. He has already expressed a willingness to play the PR game and now, in his veteran years, he is finally starting to realize the kind of money he could have made had his camps looked more like St. Pierre’s.
“Things change, people change. I don’t have anything against Cesar but I see the big picture now. Right now what I need is a good fight and a good camp,” Diaz says.
He maintains that no opponent has been offered to him yet, while Dana White is under the impression that he has been dealing with “Diaz’s manager”. According to today’s comments, the UFC might get better results if they approach Diaz directly.
Diaz has recently started thinking more and more about the business side of MMA. He reveals his thoughts on that side of the industry in an in-depth interview in the next UK issue of Fighters Only, which drops at all good magazine stockists on November 28.