Every fighter has a different way of dealing with anxiety. UFC welterweight Jorge Masvidal eats his feelings.
A three-piece and soda wasn’t enough to calm Masvidal after 15 texts about Nate Diaz and his drug testing woes. Nine days before their “BMF” title fight, everything got tossed into the air when Diaz announced he’d failed a pre-fight drug test.
First, Masvidal was pissed that so many people had his phone number. Then, he thought he’d been trolled by a Photoshop expert. He was cool with neither.
”Then I looked a little harder, and it wasn’t Photoshopped,” Masvidal said. “A little bit of anxiety came – not anxiety in the sense that I thought Nate was a cheater, because I never thought he was a cheater. Just being certain that they might pull my fight because of some lab screwup because some f*cking weird-ass sh*t.”
Two pizzas, fries, and “other things that I shouldn’t put in my body” later, his coaches managed to intervene.
”They were able to calm the anxiety down,” Masvidal said on Monday before his “BMF” title fight against Diaz at UFC 244. “Then we went about business.”
Everything eventually worked itself out. Twenty-four hours after Diaz sent the MMA world on an involuntary rollercoaster ride, he was given the all-clear by USADA. Masvidal could resume training and stop gorging.
It’s a hazard of the job when you’ve been in the game as long as “Gamebred.” Fighting is the easy part. The buildup is a nail-biter.
”If I get anxiety or depression, I take to eating,” he said.
Still, the episode raised some concerning questions about how the anti-doping agency handles such events, not the least of which how they are disclosed to the public. USADA hadn’t informed the general public about revisions of its policy that dealt with situations such as the one Diaz encountered. Adding to a cloud of uncertainty, Diaz said he’d been told to keep his positive test quiet. He called out the powers that be for trying to sully his name under the table.
Masvidal agrees with Diaz that USADA can make some improvements on how it does business. But he hasn’t given up on the UFC’s anti-doping partner just yet.
”Let me make this clear: I think USADA has moved my sport forward in certain ways that I couldn’t have imagined,” he told MMA Fighting. “There was a time when I was getting fed up with what was going on with the substance abuse, and they’ve chopped down a lot of it. Can it be tighter and better? Yes. But in that sense, I’m a very intense individual where I just always think it could be better and better.
”I could sit down and give USADA my opinions on it, but I want to say they’ve done a great job. Guys like me are shining because of USADA. There was a time when everybody was looking like ‘Captain America’ and ‘Wolverine,’ and the guys that are natural weren’t shining as much. I’m able to send these people into orbit now because the system is at much more of a level playing field. I want to give big kudos to USADA. Can it be better? Yeah.”
Before its resolution, Masvidal offered his opinions on the situation to “a lot” of people who “got an earful.” But with the fight five days away, there are bigger things to focus on.
Masvidal calls Saturday’s showdown “the biggest night of my f*cking career,” and he’s not going to let anything else get in his way. Those pizzas don’t stand a chance.
”I’ve never missed weight in my career, and if I didn’t at 155 pounds, you better believe I’m not missing now,” he said.