Nick Diaz attempted to explain why he missed his flight last week and no-showed UFC 183 open workouts. Though he spoke to the media for more than 30 minutes at media day, the reason was still mostly unclear.
Diaz got to the airport in Sacramento on Jan. 27 with the intention of flying to Las Vegas. The following day was a mandatory workout in the MGM Grand casino for fans and media. But as soon as he saw the cameras for UFC Embedded, Diaz bolted, his coach Cesar Gracie told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.
"He didn't know about the camera crew there," Gracie said. "They totally caught him off guard. He wasn't ready for it. He was uncomfortable and he wouldn't be able to rest. So he said, 'Hey, I'm catching a different plane' and then he left."
Diaz ended up not taking another flight Jan. 28 morning, finally showing up in Vegas later that afternoon, hours after the workouts had ended. Anderson Silva, Diaz's opponent, promoted the fight himself that day. UFC president Dana White joked about it on Twitter, posting a picture of Diaz's face on a milk carton.
This is not uncharted territory for the Stockton, Calif., bad boy, either. In 2011, Diaz no-showed a pre-fight press conference for what was supposed to be a fight with Georges St-Pierre. White was angry and pulled him from the lucrative, high-profile main event. It's still unclear if Diaz would face any penalty for this infraction.
Gracie said Diaz simply didn't want to deal with cameras in his face. UFC Embedded is an online series that follows the headlining fighters around before big events. The popular vlogs are then posted later that night on YouTube and UFC.com.
"Nick wasn't prepared for that," Gracie said. "He was just trying to get into fight mode and rest and everything. He didn't want to answer a bunch of questions. He didn't want the spectacle of it at that point. He was trying to mentally get himself geared in."
Ironically, Diaz being absent for workouts actually created more buzz for the fight. Many of the headlines leading up to the bout surrounded Diaz's enigmatic behavior, nearly overshadowing Silva's miraculous comeback from a broken leg just 13 months before.
Of course, Diaz wasn't just pulling off a publicity stunt. That's never been his style. Diaz is just Diaz -- one of the most unique individuals in MMA. Gracie called Diaz's no-show "unintentionally brilliant" because of the stir it caused.
"That is not the reason Nick did it," Gracie said. "He does things for his own safety and well-being. At the time for his well-being, he didn't want to get on that flight."
Diaz did apologize for it at media day and, of course, went on to an entertaining fight, albeit a unanimous decision loss, to Silva.
"I had to go back home for some things, so I didn't make it here as soon as I would have liked to," Diaz said. "So I apologize to all the fans, especially the ones that were here to see the open workout. I didn't really put too much thought into it. I was just more focused on the fight. I've pulled the same card a couple of times. It's pretty inconsiderate of me. Again, I apologize to all the fans who were anticipating a show on Wednesday."