In the aftermath of last night's instant classic between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz at UFC 202 Diaz, as he does whenever given the opportunity, hailed his brother Nick as being the best fighter in the world. But why wasn't the elder of the Diaz brothers in his corner last night?
Both of the Diaz brothers are very much cut from the same cloth and, at this stage of their careers, Nate (31) and Nick (33) seem content to only even consider accepting fights of a certain magnitude. Eddie Alvarez, the UFC lightweight champion, seems on paper to be an interesting next fight for Nate - that Stockton native is non-plussed by the idea, though. For him, it's McGregor or bust.
Nick Diaz, who is expected to return to the UFC in the coming months after serving a ban for testing positive for marijuana metabolites in competition, is the fighter who established this blueprint which his younger brother now seems intent to follow. Fighting isn't fun, he would say. Making money, though, is.
Both Diaz brothers maintain a blank refusal to accept the sport of mixed martial arts in the manner which it is presented. Neither care about titles at this point of their career, as shown when Nate said last night post-fight that they only fight he would consider is against Conor McGregor. Not lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, nor an attempt to make a run at the welterweight title - he wants the 'McGregor belt', the concept of which is becoming increasingly tangible as the Irishman's star continues to surge in MMA.
As has proven to be the case, calling out McGregor is a good business move in this sport.
Nick Diaz wasn't present in his brother's entourage at UFC 202, nor was he allowed see his brother before the fight or sit within six rows of the cage and this stems from the marijuana suspension which Diaz received after losing a unanimous decision to Anderson Silva. The suspension ended earlier this August but it emerged last night that the fighter still owes the Nevada State Athletic Commission a sum in unpaid fines - meaning that the fighter is technically suspended, despite serving the length of his suspension.
NAC has paperwork in the arena for Nick Diaz to sign should he want to be allowed to corner Nate tonight. Would also need 25K down payment
— Adam Hill (@AdamHillLVRJ) August 21, 2016
Nick Diaz still had time to pay off the fine last night and was spoken to about this by a member of the athletic commission. We understand that this was the beginning and end of the conversation.
Could the fighter that Nate referred to as a 'master ninja' have made a difference in his corner? We will never know the answer to that question but the inevitable third meeting between McGregor and Diaz seems likely to have an additional Diaz brother involved.
And that can only be good for business.