While Cesar Gracie sounded totally on the UFC’s side moments after he learned that Nick Diaz was getting dropped from a title fight with GSP, he’s gotten a bit bolder since the UFC backed away from firing Nick outright. Here’s what he told MiddleEasy today (transcript via the bloody elbow):
“I talked to Dana after he pulled the fight. I explained why it was a mistake to pull the fight. I understood. I was as mad at Nick as anybody. When I calmed down a little bit and looked at the situation, I said not only am I Nick’s trainer, manager…whatever, but I’m also a fan of the sport. And I’m thinking “why is Dana punishing the fans of the sport?” Punish Nick. Fine him a nice fat hefty fine. Do whatever you’re gonna do and punish him. All he did was miss a press conference. Seriously? Did one fan in this world even care? It did not make sense to me. I told them this afterwards.
Sounds reasonable, right? But since when has fines ever stopped any pro athlete from doing anything? Dana White argues that would lead to guys on the roster just paying their way out of promo duty:
He said fining Diaz wasn’t an option because of how much UFC fighters in the top bouts make. Though he wouldn’t divulge anything specific, he said a fine – that Gracie suggested on Thursday – wouldn’t have made sense and wouldn’t have been a deterrent for fighters skipping news conferences in the future.
“You can’t not show up for things that you are contractually obligated to do and not expect there to be repercussions,” White said. “Going to press conferences is part of the job when you’re fighting for us. I know Cesar said Nick should have been fined, but dude, if I fined him $20,000 for not showing up, you know what? He’d say, ‘Big [expletive] deal.’ Contrary to public belief, these guys are millionaires.
“Do you know how rich [UFC middleweight champion] Anderson Silva is? He’s a multi-, multi-, multi-millionaire. So is Georges St. Pierre. Fining these guys $20,000 wouldn’t make sense because it wouldn’t mean anything or do anything.”
As time goes on the UFC is going to have to whack a lot of fighters on the nose with a rolled up newspaper, and often it’s us fans that are going to suffer through it with cancelled fights and favored fighters getting shitcanned. But pro athletes are like giant children. They need to be kept in line or they’re gonna walk all over you. This ain’t Scott Coker they’re dealing with here. This is Dana Fucking White. And he doesn’t bend over for nobody.