Nate Diaz Twitter Comments Should Not Be Overlooked by the UFC
Oh Nate Diaz.
Sometimes, it's best not to share not to share your feelings on the latest "it topic" in MMA with the Twitterverse.
The younger of the Diaz brothers took to his Twitter account to voice his opinion on the current situation surrounding fellow lightweight Pat Healy's failed drug test and subsequent fine. The former Strikeforce title contender tested positive for marijuana following his victory over Jim Miller at UFC 159—and as a result—had the win changed to a "no contest", received a 90 day suspension and saw his $130,000 in fight night bonuses stripped away.
Healy originally received one of the bonuses for "Submission of the Night," but following the failed test, that money was given to bantamweight Bryan Caraway. Upon receiving the news, the TUF alum did an interview with MMA Junkie where he proceeded to rail on Healy and marijuana users everywhere as he expressed his "zero tolerance" for the drug and called the people who use it "absolutely ridiculous."
Obviously upset by the turn of events, the former No. 1 contender to the lightweight crown took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the matter.
I feel bad for pat Healy that they took a innocent mans money and I think the guy who took the money is the biggest Fag in the world ..— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) May 16, 2013
While Diaz's opinion is his share, there are simply things you cannot say in a public forum. And it's not just a case of poor taste either. The 28-year-old is a professional athlete who represents the most successful promotion in the sport of mixed martial arts. Choosing to use a homophobic slur that will go far beyond the scope of the person he was targeting for insult is something the promotion will not overlook. And while the UFC has yet to issue a statement in regard to Diaz's comments on Twitter, it is almost a certainty that punishment will follow.
Had Diaz simply stated his disapproval for what happened to Healy and his disliking for Caraway without crossing the line, there would have been nary a blip on the radar. Many in the MMA community believe the punishment handed down to the Portland-based fighter was too harsh—myself included.
I am also in agreement with the portion of the MMA community who thought Caraway's comments and soapboxing were a bit much and added pointless insult to injury. Finding out you received a $65,000 bonus is a great surprise by any measure, but to then carry on and throw jabs at the person whose mistake created the situation for you to benefit is putting yourself in a realm to cause reaction.
And that is what Diaz was doing on Twitter.
Nevertheless, going about it in the fashion that he did is sure to land him in hot water with the UFC. The organization has had several instances over the past several years where fighters were either fined, suspended or released from their contracts by comments made on Twitter or in interviews.
The most recent instance came when heavyweight Matt Mitrione made disparaging comments about transgender fighter Fallon Fox during his appearance on the MMA Hour, which ultimately led to the former NFL player turned mixed martial artist being punished by the company. Mitrione's comments, much like what Diaz blasted out on Twitter, are a violation of the UFC's recently instated Code of Conduct Policy—guidelines the company is intent on enforcing.
In the wake of Mitrione's comments, the UFC released the following statement on the company's website (h/t ESPN):
"The UFC is a friend and ally of the LGBT community, and expects and requires all 450 of its athletes to treat others with dignity and respect."
The Diaz brothers come from a hard-knock, streetwise background where terms society finds to be uncouth are common fodder for the purpose of insult. That being said, throwing a message of that nature out to scores of Twitter followers was careless and will undoubtedly bring the company's scorn down upon him.
* Update *
Per John Morgan from MMA Junkie, UFC Dana White responded to his inquiry about the Diaz situation which he released via Twitter:
Just received this from Dana White on Nate Diaz tweet: "He will be either fined and suspended or cut for that tweet."— John Morgan (@MMAjunkieJohn) May 16, 2013
Whether Diaz's punishment comes in the form of suspension, fine or release, White's comments show there will be repercussions for his comments.
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