Diaz Speaks on CSAC

Mar 27, 2008
SAN JOSE, Calif., March 27 -- With the showdown between Frank Shamrock (Pictures) and Cung Le (Pictures) two days away, the focus of Thursday's EliteXC/Strikeforce news conference gravitated toward Nick Diaz (Pictures)'s removal from Saturday's card.

EliteXC President Gary Shaw expressed an enormous amount of discontent with the situation. He explained that he had spoken to Armando Garcia earlier in the week and said the California State Athletic Commission executive officer mentioned no issues.

"Nick Diaz (Pictures) was the single first fighter that was medically cleared and had every medical in from the EliteXC side. He had all his medicals in," said Shaw, refuting Garcia's claim that the information was not received in time. "He did them roughly up to two and a half weeks ago."

Shaw said Diaz's trouble stems from his use of medical marijuana, which is legal in California and which Shaw believes Garcia is unjustly holding against Diaz. The longtime promoter compared Garcia's actions to issuing a speeding ticket to the driver of a Ferrari after assuming the driver would break the speed limit.

"Armando Garcia overstepped his boundaries, in my humble opinion," Shaw said. "I am a former regulator, and he had no right to pull Nick Diaz (Pictures) off this card. Nick Diaz (Pictures) did not test positive for drugs, was not offered any pre-fight drug test or any other type of screening."

Shaw believes Diaz -- who will not receive his $50,000 purse -- has legal recourse. The promoter has already contacted his own legal team on the matter.

"It's wrong what [Garcia] did to Nick," Shaw said. "It's wrong what he did to mixed martial arts. It's wrong what he did to Scott Coker and myself. It's wrong what he did to the opponent of Nick's, who trained to fight Nick. It's wrong for everybody they advertised that Nick would fight on this card."

As Shaw began closing out the news conference, Diaz arrived along with trainer Cesar Gracie (Pictures). He made the following statement:

"I want to thank Gary Shaw for having me up here and being so good to me. I want to apologize for not being here fighting today. I was looking forward to fighting Mr. Ice Pick, but you know it doesn't look like it's going to happen this time. I apologize. I was looking forward to a good performance -- training hard, in shape, still on weight. I come to fight. I trained to fight, but unfortunately it's not going down. Hopefully see you next time, and I just want to apologize to everybody for not pulling it off this time and making it in there to fight. Thank you."

Diaz started away from the microphone, but he returned quickly to reiterate points made earlier by Shaw. He said he would have tested clean and that his marijuana is prescribed, legal and treats his ADD/ADHD.

The CSAC was well aware of this ahead of time, according to Diaz and Shaw. Shaw likened the commission's actions to entrapment.

"I just feel like everybody in the state of California who has a legal cannabis club card should be able to have their choice," said Diaz, who will compete on EliteXC's June 14 card. "The way I see it is, [it's] one alternative to Ritalin or anti-depressants or something like that. I'm not going to take carcinogenic chemical drugs."

Besides dealing with the repercussions of the Nick Diaz fallout, Shaw ran a news conference in his usual jovial manner.

He began by saying the EliteXC-CBS television deal will be the biggest thing to happen to mixed martial arts, comparing the major network exposure for MMA to professional football. Then Shaw ended by claiming Shamrock-Le will be the biggest thing MMA-related to ever happen in San Jose.

Cung Le kept his statements short and respectful. He thanked anyone and everyone involved with the event, especially Frank Shamrock for taking the fight.

Shamrock stepped up to the microphone and -- at the urging of his wife and promoters to be polite -- delivered a formal speech.

"San Jose has never been abuzz like it has for Shamrock and Cung Le," said the Strikeforce middleweight champion.

He went on to explain his history in the sport in which he has participated since it was called "no holds barred." Reaffirming his claims of never being knocked out, submitted or beaten in a title fight, Shamrock gave Le credit should he be the first to defeat "The Legend."

"The odds are against him, and the truth will come out in a beautifully explosive and violent way," Shamrock concluded.

Joey Villasenor (Pictures) will face Ryan Jensen (Pictures), who stepped in on a few weeks' notice. Villasenor feels Jensen is tougher than his two previously expected opponents, Joe Riggs (Pictures) and Evangelista Santos (Pictures), but he is excited about mixing it up with the Midwesterner.

Shaw joked that he's glad Villasenor is ready because "if the other two guys show up, [he] might have to fight all three."

"As long as I get paid three times," replied the Greg Jackson-trained fighter.

"Joey Villasenor will not be appearing on Saturday night's card, but we thank him for appearing at the press conference," the smiling promoter retorted.

In heavyweight action, northern Oklahoman Wayne Cole (Pictures) looks to make a name for himself on national TV against UFC veteran Mike Kyle (Pictures). Kyle, representing the American Kickboxing Academy, promises a "good, clean fight" and hopes to erase the memories of his year-plus suspension with a win.

Gabe Lemley (Pictures)'s first impression of Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez (Pictures) -- of whom he is a self-proclaimed fan -- was watching his clash with Tatsuya Kawajiri (Pictures). Stepping in on short notice, Lemley figured it's "probably not a good idea" but accepted the title shot with a nothing-to-lose and everything-to-gain mentality.

Melendez was one of three Cesar Gracie fighters set to appear on the card and now is the only one left. He is "pretty bummed" about the situation, but he will "try to represent the Cesar Gracie fighters really well this fight."

Jae Suk Lim (Pictures) wanted to fight Nick Diaz, but instead he'll take on Drew Fickett (Pictures), who agreed to the bout yesterday. Lim hopes to do Koreans proud despite challenging a much heavier opponent.

Shaw interjected that since Fickett and Lim were both originally slated to face Cesar Gracie fighters, the winner of their bout would get to face Gilbert Melendez later in the night.

"As long as I get paid three times, too," called back Melendez, drawing laughs from the crowd.
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