(Major thanks to r/MMA for refreshing our memories.)
“On This Day in MMA History” pays tribute to some of the more bizarre and infamous moments from MMA’s past. Seven years ago today, Nick Diaz and Takanori Gomi engaged in a classic battle at PRIDE 33: The Second Coming, only to have Diaz’s gogoplata win overturned as the result of a failed drug test for marijuana. Not that a little weed could ever soil the memory of what turned out to be one of the most thrilling fights in PRIDE history.
“That little guy, I don’t know what the fuck, he was doing some karate in there…he’s fuckin’ do some little Hadouken fuckin’ punch in there to me.” — Nick Diaz, whimsically breaking down his all out war with Takanori Gomi at Pride 33: Second Coming on February 24, 2007 — seven years ago today.
Heading into their clash at Pride 33, Takanori Gomi was considered the undisputed king of the promotion’s lightweight division, and possibly, the entire lightweight landscape, having collected 13 wins beside just 1 loss with 7 brutal knockouts in his Pride run. Diaz, on the other hand, was riding a two-fight win streak in the UFC and had just made the genius decision to cut his second stint short by signing with Gracie Fighting Championships, a promotion that went under almost as soon as it sprang up. Itching for a fight, Diaz then signed a two-fight deal with Pride and agreed to face Gomi in a 160 lb. catchweight bout in his debut.
What ensued was a ten minute battle for the ages, with both competitors trading knockdowns and near submissions over the course of two rounds. While Diaz’s pitter-patter punches and superior cardio (and not to mention, unbreakable chin) would eventually wear Gomi down, it would be the Stocktonian’s signature submission game that would secure him the victory — via a gogoplata of all things — early in the second.
Of course, it would be Diaz’s even more notorious love of marijuana that would see the fight overturned to a No Contest once the drug tests results came back. Diaz tested positive for a marijuana metabolite level of 175, shattering the then acceptable limit of 50. He was what Joe Rogan would refer to as “high as giraffe pussy,” to put it simply. Said Nevada State Athletic Commission Chairman Dr. Tony Alamo, “This creates a unique situation. I was there at this fight and believe that you were intoxicated and… that it made you numb to the pain. Did it help you win? I think it did.”
Diaz would never receive his second Pride fight, and would spend the next four years fighting under the EliteXC, DREAM, and Strikeforce banners before making his triumphant return to the UFC, testing positive for marijuana again, retiring, unretiring, losing a title bid against GSP, and retiring again.
Diaz would find retribution against Gomi, however, in the form of his younger brother Nate, who would face and defeat “The Fireball Kid” via first round armbar at UFC 135. While there’s probably a lesson to be learned from Diaz vs. Gomi, we imagine that Nick is still way too high to figure out what it is.