By now, we’re used to a whirlwind news cycle in the MMA world, but this one is ridiculous.
Last weekend at UFC 143, Nick Diaz dropped a slim but unanimous decision to Carlos Condit in a bout for the company’s interim welterweight championship, ceding to Condit an opportunity to face Georges St. Pierre later this year in a lucrative and high profile title unification fight. Diaz was so angered by it that he announced his retirement in the cage, but after a couple of days of his supporters crying foul about the outcome, a rematch seemed to be in the works.
Alas, that was yesterday. Today, news has trickled out that Diaz tested positive for marijuana during one of his mandatory drug screenings for the bout and with it any hope he may have had for a quick revenge on Condit went, ahem, up in smoke.
Exactly how long the rest of us will have to wait to find out if Diaz is really retired or just suspended remains to be seen.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has yet to impose a penalty, though one of the things we know for sure at this point is that this isn’t Diaz’s first positive test — he originally popped positive for weed after a fight in 2007. The result was that his stellar second round gogoplata victory over Takanori Gomi at Pride 33 – at the time the biggest win of Daiz’s career – was converted to a no contest, he was suspended for six months and fined for his trouble.
Given that this is his second positive test in Nevada, this time around the sanctions figure to be even stiffer.
It’s also unclear how Diaz’s employer will react to this. When the UFC invited him back into the fold last year after nearly a half decade absence, company president Dana White said Diaz would “have to play the game, at least a little bit” if he wanted to remain employed by the UFC. You have to assume this is not at all what White had in mind.
After already cutting Diaz a second chance when he no-showed a pair of prefight news conferences for a proposed bout with St. Pierre at UFC 137, the organization may well take this as conclusive proof that the Cesar Gracie Jiu Jitsu product will never learn to “play the game.” Then again, Diaz has positioned himself as one of the UFC’s most intriguing and marketable figures over the last eight months, so promotional brass will likely extend him a slightly longer rope than it would for a less popular, less talented guy.
Still, you have to wonder how much nonsense the company can put up with before it become too much for White to bear. How much of Diaz’s tomfoolery is worth it for the UFC? Clearly, it’s not becoming of one of the company’s top welterweight stars to miss extended periods of time for failing tests for “drugs of abuse.” Clearly, it’s not becoming of one of the best in the world to continue making the same mistakes again and again.
These are questions the UFC will have to ask itself regarding Diaz’s future.
Fortunately, looks like they’ll have at least a year to figure it out.