Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Diaz has never tested positive for an anabolic steroid or missed weight in his 12-year pro career.
But because of reasons difficult to specify, Diaz, a polarizing anti-hero who has practiced the art of self-destruction for years, has temporarily put his career on hold, despite being in his prime at 30 years old.
Diaz should have fought welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre back at UFC 137 but got booted from the card after no-showing a pre-fight press conference at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
In his next bout at UFC 143, with the interim welterweight belt up for grabs, Diaz got outpointed by Carlos Condit, seemingly making the match with St-Pierre seem far-fetched.
To pile on, Diaz tested positive for marijuana metabolites after the fight, ultimately receiving a one-year suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission for the incident.
It wasn’t the first time Diaz got popped for marijuana in a post-fight drug test in Nevada, however. “The Stockton Bad Boy” tested positive for marijuana metabolites after stunning Takanori Gomi with a gogoplata at Pride 33.
The win over Gomi, which at the time marked arguably the most noteworthy moment of Diaz’s career, was overturned and deemed a no contest. For a coup de grace, the NSAC suspended Diaz for six months and fined him 20 percent of his purse.
Diaz ultimately got his dream bout when St-Pierre requested to fight him at UFC 158. After dropping a unanimous decision, however, Diaz again decided to announce his retirement.
In November, UFC president Dana White told MMAFighting.com's Guilherme Cruz that Diaz reiterated his retirement by turning down a fight against an unannounced foe.
Clearly born to fight, Diaz, undoubtedly the most gifted scrapper on this countdown, landed at No. 1 because of his decision to quit in the midst of his heyday.
After all, if he wanted to retire, Diaz should have done it when he didn't have so many fans, so much leverage and so much to gain.