Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal is back on after USADA ruling
UFC president Dana White used three exclamation marks, so it must be true.
Nate Diaz broke the spirits of many UFC fans when, on Thursday, he took to social media to announce he would not be fighting Jorge Masvidal.
The Stockton native is slated to fight Masvidal for the specially-commissioned 'Baddest Motherf*****' [BMF] belt at UFC 244 in Manhattan, New York on November 2.
It is the most highly anticipated fight of the year, following on from Masvidal's win over Ben Askren and Justin Gaethje's bout with Donald Cerrone earlier in 2019, and the UFC are hoping for close to a million pay-per-view buys. They have only had one biggie since the switch to ESPN [from FOX] and that was with Conor McGregor involved [Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor fetched 2.4m PPVs].
The biggest PPV of 2019 was Jon Jones' victory over Anthony Smith and that only enticed 650k PPV buys. Masvidal vs. Diaz should top that.
White and the UFC brass could do with a big win, so there must have been serious consternation when Diaz claimed he was out of the UFC 244 main event due to the United States Anti Doping Association flagging an out-of-competition test. The Californian tweeted:
Your all on steroids not me pic.twitter.com/ykrZmRIoPS
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) October 24, 2019
Diaz received backing from Masvidal and former women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, but it remained unclear - for about 24 hours - if the main event bout at Madison Square Garden would go ahead.
Then, late on Friday, USADA ruled that Diaz had not committed an anti-doping rules violation.
There was an atypical finding in Diaz' test, taken earlier this month, showing the presence of Ligandrol, a banned selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM).
USADA found a trace amount - 'double picogram per mili-litre' - and it was traced back to an 'organic, vegan, plant-based daily multivitamin'. A UFC statement reads:
'Diaz has not committed an anti-doping policy violation, has not been provisionally suspended and is not subject to any sanctions. Additionally, UFC has been informed by independent experts who have determined that there is unequivocally no appreciable performance enhancing or therapeutic benefit from the significantly limited amount of [Ligandrol] that may be present in his system.'
— danawhite (@danawhite) October 26, 2019
Diaz had claimed that he would not be fighting in New York unless his name was fully cleared. His team has reportedly cooperated fully with USADA and they are satisfied that the atypical finding did indeed arise from that contaminated multi vitamin.
With USADA and the UFC clearing the welterweight's name, he should be back in the mix for the Masvidal bout.
The UFC 244 press week should be as entertaining as the event itself.