The California State Athletic Commission has just confirmed that “The Ultimate Fighter 8” finalist/castoff Jesse Taylor will be stepping in for Nick Diaz to face Jay Hieron at this Saturday’s “Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg” event inside the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.
Bill Douglas, assistant executive officer of the CSAC, confirmed the news to MMAWeekly.com Monday afternoon.
During today’s media call, CEO Scott Coker confirmed that Diaz had missed his mandatory pre-fight drug test with the Commission this past Friday. Diaz’ coach, Cesar Gracie, claims it was a logistics problem as the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu wizard was high up in the mountains (some pun intended) training for his impending title fight.
“It’s a frustrating situation all the way around,” said Coker. “As for why (Diaz) missed the test, Cesar told me he was in the mountains training.”
On Monday afternoon, Gracie changed his tune when contacted by MMAWeekly.com as he stated that his protege had an “informal agreement” with former CSAC executive officer Armando Garcia that precluded random drug testing, however Garcia departed the agency last November.
Diaz currently holds a medical marijuana license under the state’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996 and Medical Marijuana Program Act.
“They changed it without any notification,” Gracie told the website. “No one had any time. The old guys were doing things based off of California law, and I knew California law didn’t change. He’s licensed … it’s legal. Their own legal team came out with a ruling that said (compassionate use was allowed). Then all of a sudden they’re saying we’re doing drug tests, and cannabis is included, it’s not just performance enhancers. To flush it out of his system, it takes 10 days, and we don’t have that.”
Although Diaz’ actions are unprofessional, selfish and stupid, opting to not take a test he knew he was going to fail was a brilliant move. Something that Gracie commented on as well.
“He fights every two months,” said Gracie. “It’s too bad for Jay Hieron, but what can you do? If you take the test, what’s going to happen? What’s going to happen is he’s gonna not get licensed in California for over a year and not fight this fight. If you don’t take this test, you don’t fight this fight, and you fight next month, because you have time to flush it out of your system.”
Don’t forget, Diaz was busted for being a Pothead Focker after he submitted then-top ranked lightweight Takanori Gomi at Pride 33 in November of 2007. After his pre-fight screening came up positive for marijuana, the bout was overturned to a No Contest.
Taylor holds a 13-3 professional record and has rolled off seven consecutive wins, including his 1stRound submission of Dong Sik Yoon at Dream.10 last month.
Speaking of winning streaks, Hieron is perfect through his last five scraps. The former IFL welterweight champion stakes claim to a 17-4 mark.
(Updated 8/10/09 2:45PM PT)
Coker has just confirmed with MMAJunkie.com that this bout will be a non-title affair. It was an expected move considering none of the original contestants are in the bout, which sucks for Hieron.