Above: Nick Diaz, Cesar Gracie, Nate Diaz, and Jake Shields.
PLEASANT HILL, California — Cesar Gracie, one of the most accomplished MMA and Jiu-Jitsu trainers in the world, promoted his fourth student to the rank of black belt in jiu-jitsu today. That honor was bestowed upon none other than one of OTM's longtime friends and sponsored athletes Nate Diaz.
Nate now joins his older brother Nick Diaz, Jake Shields, and David Terrell among the ranks of Cesar Gracie black belts. All four of Cesar Gracie's black belts have also fought successfully in the UFC, which is MMA's most prominent and presitgious organization.
Both Nick Diaz and Shields were present during the traditional black belt promotion ceremony, which involved Nate having to run the gauntlet. This is where his teammates got to playfully whip him with their gi belts, while he was shirtless. Nate, just like Nick, Shields, and Terrell, also holds several jiu-jitsu and submission grappling accolades to his credit to go along with his successful career in MMA.
Nate's black belt promotion comes exactly one month before he is scheduled to step back into the UFC octagon. On Saturday, May 5th, Nate will face fellow jiu-jitsu black belt Jim Miller in the main event of UFC on FOX 3 - Diaz vs. Miller at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The bout will air on primetime network television via FOX with the winner of the fight expected to become the #1 contender for the UFC lightweight title.