Nate Diaz has not been provisionally suspended by USADA, the UFC's anti-doping partner, despite an adverse drug-test finding that Diaz announced himself Thursday, sources told ESPN.
Diaz tweeted a statement Thursday afternoon that said he would not be competing against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244 on Nov. 2 at Madison Square Garden. Diaz wrote that he was informed he had an adverse drug-test finding and said he will not make the trip to New York unless things get figured out. Diaz wrote that he was told he had "elevated levels" that may have come from a tainted supplement.
"UFC and USADA are gathering information and will issue a statement as soon as possible," USADA spokesperson Adam Woullard told ESPN.
Sources told ESPN that Diaz tested positive for trace amounts of a prohibited selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM). In his post Thursday, Diaz adamantly denied knowingly taking any banned drugs.
The news that USADA has not suspended Diaz keeps the fight between him and Masvidal in play. The ultimate decision could come down to Diaz himself, sources said.
"I only take Whole Foods or natural food supplements," Diaz wrote. "I don't even eat meat. So until UFC, USADA or whoever is F---ING with me fixes it I won't be competing."
Diaz went on to write that he was told to hide the drug-test results or keep it quiet until after the fight and he didn't want to do that. He did not specify who told him to do that. Sources told ESPN that the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) was unaware of Diaz's adverse drug-test finding until he went public with his statement. The NYSAC did not return a request for comment.
"I don't give a f--- about some money over my dignity and my legacy," Diaz wrote. "I'm not playing along with this bulls---. I'm not staying quiet and figuring it out after the fight. That's cheating."
Diaz's case seems similar to the one involving UFC welterweight Neil Magny, sources said. Magny tested positive for a low level of LGD4033, a prohibited SARM, and announced the news himself on social media in May. Because only trace amounts were found and the belief is that Magny ingested the substance from a tainted supplement, USADA cleared him to fight last month.
Diaz vs. Masvidal is scheduled to be contested for the mythical "baddest m-----f-----" or BMF title, which the UFC is specially designing as a one-off for the contest. Diaz and Masvidal are both known for their toughness and durability. Each has been fighting professionally since the early aughts. Masvidal got his start in fighting in Miami-area backyards and boatyards alongside Kimbo Slice.
Diaz (20-11) is one of MMA's cult favorites, a weed-smoking "bad boy" from Stockton, California, who has been vocal about being a clean athlete for a long time. His pair of fights with Conor McGregor in 2016 -- they went 1-1 -- and his outspoken, no-nonsense nature made him a mainstream star.
Diaz returned from a three-year layoff to beat Anthony Pettis at UFC 241 in August. Masvidal (34-13) has won two straight, including a five-second knockout of Ben Askren at UFC 239 in July. That was the quickest knockout in UFC history.
Masvidal, 34, has won five of seven overall, but has seen his star rise with knockouts of Askren and Darren Till this year. Not unlike Diaz, the Florida native of Cuban descent is known for his natural charisma and authenticity. Masvidal tweeted earlier on Thursday that he'd like to fight Diaz regardless of what a drug test said.