(This story appeared in today’s edition of USA TODAY.)
Nick Diaz’s next opponent is not the Internal Revenue Service, but he probably needs to get a certified public accountant in his corner.
The recent UFC welterweight title challenger, who lost to champion Georges St-Pierre on Saturday in UFC 158, might need to file past tax returns, said his longtime manager, Cesar Gracie.
Diaz, who initially shirked UFC 158's post-event news conference before showing up late, perked up ears when, in the midst of a rambling assessment of his performance, he said he had never paid U.S. income taxes.
Gracie, who also trains Diaz, said the fighter misspoke and that Diaz has paid more than $100,000 to the government in the last two years.
“Nick is a little crazy, but he has paid taxes,” Gracie told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) on Monday.
Jonathan Tweedale, a Canada-based lawyer who said he has a personal relationship with Diaz, offered a different explanation.
“Nick thought Cesar (Gracie) was taking care of (taxes) for him, and Cesar wasn’t,” he said. “It doesn’t mean Nick is (in trouble), but it does mean things need to be figured out.”
Gracie countered that he never managed Diaz’s money and dismissed Tweedale, whom he said does not represent Diaz. He did, however, say he referred the 29-year-old fighter to several accountants.
“He never went to see them,” Gracie said. “His girlfriend and his previous girlfriend have taken him to see CPAs. What they did with that is none of my business. “He’s a grown man.”
Still, the verbal slip was the latest turn in the roller-coaster ride of Diaz, who could not be reached for comment. Diaz made headlines before the fight by missing UFC 158's open workouts, which he blamed on a late flight and lack of sleep.
He then cast doubt on his ability to pass a postfight drug test because of his well-documented marijuana use. UFC President Dana White said he’d probably release Diaz with a drug test failure, which would be his third. After the fight, Diaz said he would retire, then challenged St-Pierre to a rematch. He tweeted pictures of himself next to a police car Sunday, but while two passengers in the car he was riding in were arrested for separate charges after a traffic stop, Diaz was not among them.
But still, what a weekend.
“He should have never made that statement,” Gracie said. “He should have just gotten an accountant and paid his taxes. He made a lot of money for this fight. Just get yourself squared away, bro. You’re there for a fight. You’re going to start talking about taxes? It’s like, huh?”
The Régie des alcools des courses et des jeux (Quebec’s athletic commission), which oversaw UFC 158 at Montreal’s Bell Centre, does not release fight purses.
Diaz, however, is expected to profit well from sharing a pay-per-view event with St-Pierre, who is the UFC’s biggest PPV draw.
For complete coverage of UFC 158, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.