Cesar Gracie is Nick Diaz's longtime trainer. He's quite clearly a close friend, and in some ways, maybe even a surrogate father figure. But is he really a good manager for Stockton's finest?
When Nick Diaz skipped the press conference in Toronto last month, Cesar Gracie's defense of Diaz wasn't exactly ironclad:
“Nick doesn’t really do the conference calls with a guy he’s fighting; he just never has,” Gracie then told reporters. “It’s just not in his psyche. He’s too busy training right now to answer any questions.”
Given the way he answered that question, I was none-too-surprised to hear that Diaz missed the next press conference.
What was surprising was Nick Diaz's own remarks later that he never knew that he was doing a press conference in the first place. He thought he was skipping out on making a promo or something similar instead.
Later, Diaz nearly missed a conference call to promote his fight with BJ Penn and once again insisted that he knew nothing about it even though media members had already confirmed the night before that at least Cesar Gracie was aware of the appointment.
Some have gone as far as to say that this is all some new form of self-promotion, but I'm not buying it.
More than that, I think Diaz's manager should bear at least some of the responsibility. I think Gracie knew about the press conferences and conference call but failed to do properly instruct Diaz on the importance of attending because he figured, "What's the UFC going to do?"
It's either that, or Gracie can't get through to Diaz. Given their relationship, I'm betting on the former.
But more than just missing press conferences, Diaz needs a manager who can help him get his life together.
It seems like Diaz is constantly complaining that he doesn't have a life outside of fighting, and that he is too busy training to get his life in order.
He needs to buy a house. He needs to get his driver's license reinstated. He needs to find time to have a life. A manager devoted to Nick Diaz could help with that.
This isn't exactly the kind of job your average manager would do, but it's certainly not unheard of.
"You want a house? Let's go for a drive."
"You want your license renewed? Sign here."
These are realistic things that a manager could actually do.
The problem is that Cesar Gracie isn't actually a professional manager. He's a Brazilian jiu-jitsu trainer who has far too much other stuff going on to be able to bend to Diaz's every whim.
For some fighters, a trainer/manager would be okay, but it's clear that Diaz needs special attention. And Diaz certainly isn't going to get that from Cesar Gracie. After winning a title shot with Georges St-Pierre, Diaz certainly can afford to hire some extra help.
Shari Spencer, if you're out there, it's time you check to see what the weather is like in Stockton.