Wednesday, March 14, 2007

EliteXC's Gary Shaw discusses Nick Diaz and more

By Pramit Mohapatra

Former UFC lightweight Nick Diaz stunned the mixed martial arts world Feb. 24 when he defeated PRIDE lightweight champion Takanori Gomi in a non-title fight at PRIDE 33. His impressive second-round submission victory was later tarnished by reports that Diaz -- recently signed by EliteXC but allowed by that league to fight in PRIDE 33 -- failed a drug test the night of the bout.

I talked to EliteXC President Gary Shaw March 12 to discuss Diaz’s reported positive test result, Diaz’s future with EliteXC and EliteXC’s next event. reported March 5 that a Nevada regulator said that Nick Diaz tested positive for marijuana at PRIDE 33. Can you confirm that Diaz tested positive for marijuana at PRIDE 33?

I can only confirm what the Nevada [State Athletic] Commission [has stated], which is that he tested positive for marijuana.

As far as you know, has Diaz received any penalty from the Nevada State Athletic Commission?

As far as I know, he has not been called to a hearing yet.

Do you know when that hearing might happen?

No, I don’t, but I’m waiting for notice from the commission.

Will EliteXC do anything to punish Diaz in any way for his positive drug test?

No, absolutely not.

So, whatever punishment Diaz receives from the commission is all that will happen?


Is Diaz still an important part of EliteXC’s future plans?

Absolutely, he’s a huge part of it. We all believed in him. We all believed that he could beat Gomi. Cesar Gracie kept telling me [Diaz] was going to beat Gomi and then he beat Gomi …

Have you talked to Diaz since the test results came out?

Yes, I flew him to -- I had a boxing match [between Israel] Vazquez and [Rafael] Marquez [for the WBC super bantamweight title fight on March 3] at the Home Depot Center in Carson [, Calif.] -- and I flew him to that fight.

What was the nature of your conversation with him?

It was actually the first time I met Nick and was introduced and I told him how proud I was of him for the great victory [over Gomi] and what an exciting fighter he is. That was basically it -- it was short.

At that point, had the drug test results come out?

No, if they did, I didn’t know about it at that point.

OK, so you didn’t talk to Diaz about the drug test results at all?

No, absolutely not.

About Diaz’s contract, I understand that Diaz first signed with EliteXC and then he was allowed to sign a deal with PRIDE. What is Diaz’s contract with EliteXC?

We have a minimum three-fight deal. We have rights beyond three fights.

What do you mean by “rights beyond three fights?”

We have the right to make other offers, to match any offers, and we believe that’s an important part of our company and our strategy. But at the same time, we’ve proved to the world that if you sign with EliteXC, EliteXC will let you fight in other big shows and look what happened.

What is Diaz’s contract with PRIDE?

I believe they want to do two fights and they’ve already done one.

So, he has one more fight left with PRIDE?

Right, but we have the right of approval on the [PRIDE] opponents.

I wanted to switch topics and talk a little about your May 5 event. Do you have any more details on that, for example location or fight card?

We’re switching to June.

Do you have a specific date for that?

I do, I just can’t talk about it, yet. I’m not permitted. It’s going to be beyond EliteXC and it’s something you’ll be excited about.


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