Nate Diaz received a 90-day ban and was fined $20,000 by the UFC on Friday, a day after the lightweight fighter used a homophobic slur on Twitter.
His manager defended Diaz's language — while using the same offensive slur — although the offensive tweet has since been deleted from Diaz’s timeline.
Diaz dropped the offensive remark in a Twitter message in which he took up for fellow fighter Pat Healy, who earlier this week was stripped of his win and $130,000 in bonus money for testing positive for marijuana at UFC 159 last month in Newark, N.J. That fight against Jim Miller will go down as a no contest.
“We are very disappointed by Nate Diaz’s comments, which are in no way reflective of our organization," the UFC said in a statement to FOXSports.com. "Nate is currently suspended pending internal investigation and we will provide further comment once the matter has been decided.”
On Friday, Zuffa, LLC, owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, released the following statement today:
"UFC lightweight Nate Diaz has received an immediate 90-day suspension and $20,000 fine for violating the UFC’s fighter code of conduct. The language used in his tweet was regrettable, offensive and inconsistent with the values and culture of the organization, and is not tolerated."
Mike Kogan, Diaz’s manager, told FOXSports.com that his client’s tweet wasn’t homophobic and was meant purely as an attack on Bryan Caraway, a fighter on the UFC 159 card who was awarded Healy’s Submission of the Night bonus worth $65,000. Diaz apparently took issue with Caraway’s lobbying on Twitter.
“Apologizing for what?” Kogan answered when asked if Diaz regretted the tweet. “He didn’t use that word in that sort of (homophobic) context. It’s a misunderstanding. If people are uneducated, that’s not my (expletive) fault. It’s slang for being a little b****. The guy goes on Twitter and chases (UFC president) Dana (White) down like a little f** instead of picking up the phone.”
Kogan added that Diaz did not intend to offend anybody, especially in the gay community, with his tweet.
“This was kind of like guys sitting around and one calling the other a b****,” Kogan said. "Would I rather be dealing with something else right now? Sure. But people are bashing my guy for something that was taken out of context."
Diaz and his brother, Nick, already were controversial for admitting they smoke marijuana. Nick Diaz was suspended a year for testing positive for the drug after UFC 143 in February 2012.
“It’s not that embarrassing of a thing,” Nate Diaz said to FOXSports.com in March. “It’s from the earth. You plant it. You smoke it.”
Statements like that weren’t going to run afoul of the UFC’s new code of conduct like his tweets on Thursday did. Just ask UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione.
Mitrione was suspended by the UFC last month after he called transgender MMA competitor Fallon Fox “a lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak” in an interview.
Three weeks after the suspension was announced, Mitrione was added to July’s UFC on FOX 8 card, in which he’ll fight Brendan Schaub.
"People are comparing this to Matt Mitrione," Kogan said. "Mitrione was addressing a transgender fighter and calling it disgusting and whatever else. That's not the same as this."