Opinion: Nate Diaz, Derogatory Language and Its Consequences
By Jesse Heitz
Professional fighters have a nagging reputation, deserving or not, as brash and in-your-face. We’re accustomed to rampant trash-talking leading up to fights. As fighters, we expect a level of off-the-cuff remarks, a shoot-from-the-hip type of bravado. Some fighters such as Chael Sonnen have been able to master art of gaining publicity through their words, yet some cross over the line from inflammatory to downright derogatory.
Recently, UFC lightweight, Nate Diaz, became another professional fighter among the UFC’s ranks to find himself in hot water over a poor choice of words. Following Pat Healy’s positive test for marijuana following his UFC 159 win against Jim Miller, which garnered him some $130,000 in bonuses for fight of the night and submission of the night, and the subsequent reversal of his win and confiscation of his bonuses, Nate Diaz took exception and vented his rage at Bryan Caraway, the inheritor of Healy’s bonus, stating,
“I feel bad for pat Healy that they took a innocent mans money and I think the guy who took the money is the biggest F** in the world..”
Diaz followed up on his comment by stating, using the always annoying Twitter hashtag,
The UFC responded quickly, suspending Diaz indefinitely pending an internal investigation. The UFC’s official statement read as,
“We are very disappointed by Nate Diaz’s comments, which are in no way reflective of our organization. Nate is currently suspended pending internal investigation, and we will provide further comment once the matter has been decided.”
Diaz’s manager, Mike Kogan, issued a statement that was reported by MMAjunkie.com, in which he said,
“Nate voiced a personal opinion about an incident that took place involving Bryan Caraway in which he chased Dana all over Twitter to try to get a bonus, which was taken away from Pat Healy, got the bonus, and then had the nerve to go back out there and bash the guy and talk s–t about weed-smoking and how much he hates it and how it’s wrong, which was, at best, a s–t move on his side.”
“Guess what? The word f—-t, at least in Northern California, and where Nate is from, means bitch. It means you’re a little punk. It has nothing to do with homosexuals at all. So when Nate made the comment that he made, he didn’t make it in reference to homosexuals or calling Caraway a homosexual. He just said it was a bitch move.”
Regardless of what line of reasoning Mike Kogan uses to explain away Diaz’s statement, it’s a rather cut-and-dry event. The UFC instituted a policy that seeks to really drop the hammer on derogatory comments made by its fighters and employees. Matt Mitrione’s suspension following his questionable comments about transgendered fighter Fallon Fox was the proverbial shot across the bow. The precedent had been set, regardless of the actual disciplinary follow through by the UFC, and Nate Diaz waded into the water fully aware.
With this said, I feel no remorse for Nate Diaz. He’s supposed to be a professional, one of the faces of an industry-leading company. If any ordinary employee had made a similar well-publicized comment about a co-worker, we would probably be out of a job, not a mere suspension that in reality most likely won’t even cost him a fight.