Though Nate Diaz dropped a bomb on UFC 244 on Thursday, stating that he was out of his headlining fight with Jorge Masvidal, he hasn’t yet been officially ruled out.
Diaz apparently derailed one of the biggest UFC non-title fights in history when he tweeted that a drug test had shown “elevated levels,” adding that he wouldn’t make it to New York City for the Masvidal bout. The two are scheduled to meet in the UFC 244 main event at Madison Square Garden for the fictional Baddest Motherf—er title. UFC president Dana White confirmed the promotion had even spent $50,000 to create a belt for the winner.
An ESPN report, however, indicated that Diaz has not yet been ruled out of the fight by the UFC or by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which oversees the UFC’s Anti-Doping Program. Meaning, he has not yet been provisionally suspended or otherwise removed from the bout.
“UFC and USADA are gathering information and will issue a statement as soon as possible,” USADA spokesperson Adam Woullard told ESPN.
Unidentified sources told ESPN that Diaz tested positive for trace amounts of a prohibited selective androgen receptor module (SARM). In his post Thursday, Diaz adamantly denies knowingly taking any banned drugs, and did not identify the substance for which he said he was found to have “elevated levels.”
There is a precedence in this type of case that could lead to Diaz remaining eligible to fight, despite the finding. As ESPN noted, UFC fighter Neil Magny tested positive for a low level of a prohibited SARM. USADA later cleared him to fight because only trace amounts were found and Magny was believed to have ingested the substance via a tainted supplement.
Diaz, however, has a different mental make-up than many other fighters and one of his comments on Thursday could be an indicator that, even if cleared to fight next week, he might not be willing to compete under such circumstances.
“I don’t give a f— about some money over my dignity and my legacy,” Diaz wrote. “I’m not playing along with this bulls—. I’m not staying quiet and figuring it out after the fight. That’s cheating.”
Stay tuned to MMAWeekly.com for more on the story as the situation develops.