Late last evening via GracieFighter.com, Nick Diaz’s coach and manager Cesar Gracie released an official statement on his student no-showing the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo over the weekend.
Gracie starts off by explaining the initial organization of the expo, which was apparently overseen “by a Brazilian named Junior.” Upon learning of his uncle Rilion and cousin Renzo’s involvement with the expo, Cesar brought up the idea to Nick Diaz, who initially agreed to participate in a black belt tournament.
I discussed the idea with Nick Diaz and he readily agreed to enter in the black belt gi division. He did not seek any reimbursement. Junior thought it better for Nick to do a super fight as he thought this would be more of a spectacle and bring in more attention. Nick was not as enthusiastic but agreed on the condition that whoever was picked to go against him was not an mma fighter. He knew even a mediocre mma fighter would try to use a match and/or victory over him to further their career in mma. Nick believes a reputation as a fighter should only be earned in a ring or cage.I relayed this to Junior and he agreed to arrange for a strict jiu-jitsu competitor.
Before long, Cesar learned that Rilion an Junior had come to a business disagreement and severed ties. Considering Renzo’s large financial stake in the tournament, Rilion advised Cesar to move ahead with the tournament, but with caution; Cesar agreed. Junior proposed Braulio Estima as an opponent for Diaz with the strict assurance that Estima had no intentions of ever competing in mixed martial arts.
I repeated this info to Nick. A week or so later it was all over the Internet that Braulio had joined the “Blackzillians” and was training for an mma fight. We had been lied to. Furthermore it was evident that Nick’s sole condition that he not go against a wanna be mma guy was violated and this was in fact an attempt by Braulio to ignite an mma career.Nick was to have been accurately portrayed as a fighter returning to his BJJ roots. He had even agreed to give his entire purse to charity; St Jude’s Children’s Hospital for kids with cancer. If you know the story of Ralph Gracie’s son you would understand why this charity was chosen. Nick’s name having been added to this event had saved it but now it was clear he was to be the patsy, not respected but used.
Cesar says that even after learning of this, Diaz intended to go through with the fight. He also agreed to weigh in the night before the competition at 180lbs.
Nick boarded a plane on Friday for Long Beach having cut 6 pounds for the weigh in that night. On his way there I got a call from Junior telling me Braulio would not be making weight! ”Cesar Braulio is complaining about the weight cut. Can we have him weigh in tomorrow? He can’t make the weight tonight how about 185 in the morning?” Nick arrives in Long Beach to the news that there will be no weigh ins that night. As a professional with over 30 fights this was the final straw. The disrespect and total lack of professionalism given him convinced him he was at a circus not a professional event. At 3:20 in the morning I received a text from Junior that Braulio would in fact make the 180lbs weight class at 10:00AM. With no other option available I said fine I’ll check with Nick in the morning. At 10:00AM Braulio did weigh in at 180lbs but by that time Nick had already left.
Gracie gave respect to Estima as a BJJ player, but answered his call for an MMA fight with Diaz by saying he needed to “find success in MMA” first. He pointed to what he believes was a crooked promoter’s intentional tipping of the scales in his countryman’s favor as what ultimately cancelled the fight.
As a Brazilian I love Brazil but not all things Brazilian. In the last decade I have witnessed Brazilian cronies running the IBJJF and making it impossible for Americans to get a fair shake when competing against their Brazilian countrymen. These cronies have instituted rules to where if you miss weight by even half a pound you are disqualified and not refunded your entry fee. They gladly keep your money and treat you like crap in your country because they can. One of these cronies (Junior) decided to bend all the rules for Braulio Estima and treat Nick Diaz like crap. Sorry that didn’t work out here.
The coach didn’t deflect all the blame from Diaz though, asserting that he will be reprimanded for his disappearing act. He also reminded us that Diaz did make the agreed-upon donation to St. Jude’s out of his own pocket.
Nick is not without fault by any means. His lack of communication with his team and coach was inexcusable. This will be addressed privately. Renzo and I have spoken and we are committed to continuing with this otherwise awesome event….without the services of Junior. It should be noted that Nick paid to St Jude’s Children’s Hospitable the sum of what would have been his entire purse.
Renzo Gracie has since spoken out about the event since it all went down last Saturday, appearing on the MMA Show with Mauro Ranallo taking blame for the situation for his role in allowing Junior to organize.