The mixed martial arts world was left stunned last week after Nate Diaz sent out a tweet that USADA was telling him he had committed a violation, especially with his UFC 244 headliner vs. Jorge Masvidal only nine days away.
After more than 24 hours of silence from USADA and the UFC, Diaz was cleared by both organizations late Friday night.
Diaz spoke out for the first time today during a UFC 244 media conference call. He had plenty to say.
Diaz said, “I wasn’t happy about any of it actually. I think it was all just a big old bunch of bullsh*t. I just wanted to not be a part of the big old f*cking secret. I think the thing about people on steroids — people on steroids don’t talk about steroids out loud. I’m like if we’re going to have to get down to the point, let’s get down to the point. I’m not going to hold a secret or figure it out afterwards.
“We need to get this out of the way, because I’ve got sh*t I’ve got to put my mind on. If we’ve got to cancel the fight, that’s what we’re going to have to do, but let’s get that sh*t out the way because that’s whack. I thought was all made up and a bunch of bullst*it anyways. It’s behind so now we can move on.”
Diaz told the media he was never sweating the findings and that he didn’t even ask USADA for details.
“I don’t want to have no excuses for winning or losing,” Diaz said. “I just want it to be a fair fight like it should be. I’ve seen other people get in trouble for this type of thing before, they keep a big old secret, they’re like ‘let’s keep this on the low cause we might ruin a show.’ I’m like no, there is no f*cking show if we’re not going to do it right so let’s make it happen right.
“The second I tell them, all of a sudden it’s right and cleared. It’s kind of funny to me, the whole situation. I’m going to leave it behind me. I’m done with all that sh*t now. If they want to call me on that kind of sh*t again, we can test everyday for the rest of my life, cause I’ve been taking all the same sh*t I’ve been taking for the last five years. Don’t try to play me, cause I ain’t playing back.”
Masvidal is currently a -185 favorite at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. Diaz is the +155 underdog.
When asked about Masvidal, Diaz said, “I’m expecting the best fighter I’ve ever fought.”
This below tweet (which doesn’t have an edit button, so forgive the double “think, think” typo on my part) was another highlight of Diaz’s remarks:
Masvidal was also asked about the confusion of last week. When quizzed about his initial reaction, ‘Gamebred’ said, “Anxiety. Not because I thought Nate was a cheater. But the uncertainty led to anxiety.”
On why he and Nate have been so respectful of each other in the buildup to Saturday’s main event at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Masvidal said, “We both fight. We’re dogs in that cage. We see the BS. He’s been the same dude his whole career. We salute each other. Nothing but praise and admiration for Nate.”
And nothing but pure joy and excitement for MMA fans regarding this Saturday night!
The entire card is stacked. The co-main event is Darren Till’s middleweight debut against Kelvin Gastelum, who had a war for the ages in a narrow unanimous-decision loss to undisputed middleweight champ Israel Adesanya earlier this year.
Gastelum is -200 at the Westgate, leaving Till at +170 on the comeback. The rest of the main card includes a welterweight scrap between Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson (-125) vs. Vicente Luque (+105), a heavyweight match pitting Derrick ‘The Black Beast’ Lewis (+115) vs. Blagoy Ivanov (-135) and lightweights Gregor Gillespie (-170) vs. Kevin Lee (+145).
The Prelims headliner is a 205-pound battle between Johnny Walker (-160) vs. Corey Anderson (+140).
The week is early, so I’m not going to commit to much in terms of my plays. In other words, my first thought is Lee at +145 is something I’m interested in. However, Lee missed weight for his win over Edson Barboza in April of 2018.
Then after losing to Al Iaquinta, he moved up to welterweight in May and was submitted by Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Rochester. Now he’s dropped back to 155 pounds, so I want to see how he’s looking later in the week in terms of his weight cut before wagering on the ‘Motown Phenom.’
I’m not a big fan of backing (whether it be baseball, boxing, UFC or money-line prices in any sport) a favorite North of a -130/-140 price. Nevertheless, assuming his shoulder is ok (he injured it celebrating his last easy first-round finish and had to undergo surgery), Walker is a bargain at -160.
I also like Walker to win inside the distance at a -110 price. When other props and totals are released later in the week, anything that applies to Walker winning by first-round knockout (prop for fight to end in Round 1, Walker to win by KO, etc.) has my full endorsement.
Gastelum has overcome size and reach disadvantages before, because the Mexican-American is such a savage. With that said, a small play on Till (assuming the price remains in the +170 range) is tempting. I also lean ‘Wonderboy’ as a short favorite, in addition to Lewis as a small underdog (although his chronic back issues are always a concern).
I’m also going to be on Diaz, but only for a moderate amount. To be clear, Walker is my favorite play on the UFC 244 card, and my amount on him compared to the other bouts is going to make me a winner or a loser on Saturday night.