Ever since I heard that Nick Diaz’s camp might file a formal complaint about everything from the handling of the weigh-in to the supervision of the drug tests at UFC 158 in Montreal, I’ve been trying to figure out whether this is the least Diaz-like thing he could do or the most.
Obviously, that’s not the only confusing question here. There’s also the issue of whether Jonathan Tweedale is really Diaz’s lawyer (the answer seems to depend on who you ask and when and regarding which issue). Then there’s the question of what, exactly, the Diaz camp hopes to accomplish by debating decimal points on a scale. (Tweedale’s complaint claims that Georges St-Pierre “remains legally and ethically obligated to fight Mr. Diaz at 170 pounds or else vacate the belt,” but come on, even Team Diaz can’t really believe that’s going to happen – can they?)
Despite all those tantalizing mysteries, what I keep coming back to is this: Would this complaint be completely out of character for Diaz, to the point where it might harm his image even in the minds of his own diehard fans? Or is this a totally consistent, completely unsurprisingly move in the long history of Diaz-tastic drama?
Honestly, it seems like it could go either way. It seems like this could finally be the point where Diaz’s fans realize that, for all his public disdain for rules and regulations and attempts by the man to force him to conform, he is not above wielding the rulebook against others if he thinks he might get something out of the deal. Then again, it also seems like if you’ve ridden the Diaz bandwagon this far, it’s going to take a lot more than an ill-advised legal complaint to knock you off.
And let’s not kid ourselves: This is about as ill-advised as it gets. This complaint makes B.J. Penn’s request for GSP to be fined, suspended and showered look totally reasonable and rational by comparison.
At issue is what seems to be a screw-up from the Quebec athletic commission, which changed its mind on how it treats those annoying decimal points between pounds. A surreptitious video captured a UFC official telling the Diaz camp before the weigh-in that, in Montreal, they “don’t count the decimal.” Thus does an official weight of, say, 170.7 pounds – too heavy for a welterweight title fight – become an even 170? Had GSP been forced to make weight without that decimal allowance (though, in fairness, we’ve yet to see proof that he didn’t), the GSP-Diaz bout would have been drastically altered.
So the Diaz camp says, anyway. If you’re buying that, then you and Diaz must get your medical marijuana prescriptions filled at the same “pharmacy.”
While it seems clear that the Quebec commission needs to figure out its own rules and stick to them, it seems equally clear that St-Pierre can’t be blamed for their failure to do so. The Diaz camp can’t even tell us for sure whether he came in over the 170-pound mark. Even if the champ was a fraction of a pound over the mark that he’s hit pretty consistently for years, he could have probably just stripped off his underwear, done the old blushing-behind-the-towel bit, and made weight anyway, as Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole pointed out.
What we have here is a complaint for the sake of complaining. Diaz got beat by St-Pierre, and by a wide margin. This was not a fight that was decided by a fraction of a pound. Anybody who saw it already knows that, which makes you wonder what Diaz and Co. think they have to gain by zeroing in on the commission’s error. Do they really think the UFC is going to feel obliged to give them a rematch – or, even more hilariously far-fetched, strip GSP of the title – because of a mistake by some Quebecois bureaucrats? Do they just see this as a chance to create a pleasant diversion, maybe even lay the groundwork, for a beef with the commission in case Diaz’s own drug test comes back dirty?
Or, in trying to figure out what their angle is, are we making the same mistake GSP did in the days before the bout, trying to assign rational motivations to irrational forces? Maybe trying to make sense out of the latest Diaz move is the modern MMA equivalent of an ancient tribe trying to figure out which sacrifice will keep the local volcano from going off.
If there’s an argument for this being the Diaz move to end all Diaz moves, that’s probably it. The fact that this challenge makes little sense and is hopelessly doomed could be exactly what explains the Diaz camp’s decision to try it.
If the situation were reversed – if GSP had lost a decision and then complained about weigh-in irregularities and decimal points in a legal brief – you can imagine that the response from Diaz’s crew might be less than sympathetic. It’d be the same way if it had been GSP who took a swipe after the end of a round, or even if it had been GSP who no-showed the open workouts during fight week.
After all, Diaz is the same man who showed up at the post-fight press conference and said he didn’t want to make excuses – then reeled off several of them, blaming the loss on everything from his own poor fight camp to the vast three-hour time difference between California and Montreal. His camp also tried to make a big deal about St-Pierre’s hand wraps before the fight, and Diaz himself flat-out accused the champ of being on steroid despite zero evidence other than his abs. Is it any wonder that, after a couple weeks to brood about this and a legitimately baffling commission screw-up to point to, the result is a written complaint that makes a hypothetical half-pound seem like an advantage on par with bringing a baseball bat into the cage?
When you think about it in those terms, of course Diaz is complaining now. Of course his team wants to make this an issue. Considering what Team Diaz expects of itself, it makes perfect sense. It’s only when you think about what they expect from others that it seems like a lot of empty words, ultimately headed nowhere.
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