The UFC’s vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitsky spoke to Joe Rogan recently about the return of Nick Diaz and, surprisingly, it’s not as bleak a picture as one would imagine.
For all the superstardom that Stockton’s Nate Diaz has earned himself over the course of the last two years or so, it’s easy to forget that it was his older brother Nick who once carried the pressures of fame for the brothers Diaz.
Nick, who held the Strikeforce welterweight title during an unmissable three-fight run, didn’t exactly have the same type of success after re-signing with the UFC as he did before, losing out to Georges St-Pierre, Carlos Condit, and Anderson Silva.
Of course, those three names are ones that carry massive weight in the sport and even though Diaz was unsuccessful, his durability, cardio and almost stubborn forward pressure still managed to earn him respect among those who were perhaps unfamiliar with his early work.
Now, with him seemingly always in USADA’s bad books, the world has been patiently waiting for the return of the elder Diaz and though many have speculated that his desire to fight is just not there, Jeff ‘the Golden Snitch’ Novitsky made it clear in an appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience that he believes he does want to fight and that they are actively working towards getting him back into the octagon.
“I think he does [wish to compete again]. I think he does. I’ve sat down with him over the past couple months trying to resolve this whereabouts issues. The unfortunate thing there is, look, the whereabouts failures are there to catch people that are cheating and trying to avoid testing. I just think Nick’s lifestyle led to those three whereabouts, not that he was trying to avoid testing. We’re trying to work through that.
“He trusted certain individuals to do his whereabouts for him. What I think happened was, over time, those individuals were in and out of his life, and it was unbeknownst to him that he was missing all these things. But again, there’s strict liability here. He’s currently under sanction, but we’re hoping to resolve that pretty quick.”
Those in the USADA testing pool need to let the anti-doping agency know exactly where they are so that they can be available for testing, but Nick being Nick fell off of the radar on several occasions – something that you simply cannot do under the stricter regulations these days.
Still, the idea that we could well be in with a chance of seeing one of the sport’s most entertaining fighters make his return certainly adds an extra level of intrigue to the new year and while it is unclear whether he will return to the 170lb division or make a switch to middleweight, if one thing is for sure, it’s that the world of MMA is a much more fun place with Nick Diaz in it.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena