LAS VEGAS — Nick Diaz will not be in his brother Nate's corner at UFC 202.
Nick Diaz still owes the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) a portion of a fine and is effectively still suspended until he pays off that sum or enters into an approved payment plan, according to NAC executive director Bob Bennett.
Diaz's manager Lloyd Pierson told MMA Fighting that something might change at the very last minute, but as of Saturday afternoon Nick will not be in Nate's corner for the Conor McGregor main event fight.
Pierson said Thursday night that there were still discussions going on to get Nick licensed to corner Nate. But those talks seemed to have stalled.
Bennett, though, will leave the door open — until Nate actually steps into the Octagon. He said Nevada's deputy attorney general will be in attendance with a payment agreement if Nick wants to sign it and provide a first payment of $25,000 on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
"We wanted to give him every opportunity," Bennett told MMA Fighting on Saturday. "I feel like we've gone above and beyond — more than most commissions would do — because we know this is a major fight for his brother. We've done everything legally we could do knowing that importance."
Nick does not always corner Nate and he wasn't in his corner when Nate beat McGregor at UFC 196 in March. At that time, Nick was serving an 18-month suspension for his third marijuana offense in Nevada. Part of that sanction was also a $100,000 fine. Bennett said Nick still owes the state $75,000 of that sum and he won't be able to get licensed — to fight or corner — until it is paid off or enters into a commission-approved payment plan.
Bennett said he contacted the UFC two or three weeks ago to inform them of the conditions that would allow Nick to corner Nate.
"The Nevada State Athletic Commission made a concerted effort to keep everyone involved in the fight regarding our Codes as we thought Nate would request his brother to work his corner," Bennett said in a statement earlier in the week. "Additionally we provided them information as to who to contact at the Attorney General's Office in an effort for Nick to be in compliance with his written settlement/agreement. I was informed by the UFC they contacted Nick and/or his manager and advised them what our regulations require to accommodate the possible request."
Because he is still effectively under suspension, Nick won't be allowed in Nate's locker room or even the six rows around the Octagon at UFC 202, Bennett said. He is prohibited from communicating with Nate or the other coaches and corner people in the vicinity.
The UFC and MGM Grand has banned everyone from Team Diaz and Team McGregor other than licensed corner people after a chaotic incident at the pre-fight press conference Wednesday. Nick was not allowed at the UFC 202 ceremonial weigh-ins Friday at MGM Grand's Marquee Ballroom.
People from both teams — and McGregor and Nate Diaz themselves — threw water bottles and other things at each other after Team Diaz got up and left the press conference. McGregor and Nate Diaz are facing NAC sanctions as a result of the altercation.
UFC 202 will not have an official post-fight press conference, in part due to logistical and security reasons.