Hello again Bloody Elbow. Here's something you probably wouldn't expect from a guy who's last FanPost covered a ring card girl that did porn (which was an awesome topic by the way, thanks for all the comments and feedback).
Fair warning: MOUNTAIN of text ahead.
A little bit of history: this has been something I'd been planning on doing for weeks/months. I consider Nick Diaz one of my favorite fighters, and I've been asked numerous times by a lot of different people why I like him so much. With everyone talking Nick nowadays since he returned to the UFC and will be fighting GSP soon, I figured the time was right to make my case for why I'm such a massive Diaz fanboy. So here is my argument, in all its long, rambling glory.
Sometimes it still amazes me that I’m a Nick Diaz fan. A lot of people still hate him, loathe him even, and it’s not difficult to see why. For the longest time, I couldn’t stand Nick Diaz either. I hated him for his cockiness, his brash attitude, for the way he disrespected his opponents both inside and out of the cage, for the way he acted as if nothing was ever good enough no matter how much he was getting paid or how many opportunities he was being given… the list goes on and on. But yet the fact remains: I am a Nick Diaz fan. I’ll go one further: I’m at the front of the bandwagon. Why is that? With Nick Diaz becoming an even bigger star thanks to his UFC return and the fact that he’ll be facing Georges St. Pierre soon, I feel the time is right to make my stand. So here it is: this is why I’m a Nick Diaz fan.
Let me start off by addressing both the cynics and those that are tired of all the Nick Diaz fans vs. haters arguments: I will not deny that Nick Diaz both does stupid things and says stupid things. I do not put Nick Diaz on a pedestal, I will not defend his actions other than to say “it’s Nick being Nick”. That’s something I think all Nick Diaz fans need to come to terms with, if I may be so bold. Because I think that if you take Nick Diaz as he is and don’t blindly rush in to defend his next controversial action or interview, you’re better able to understand both him and why you’re a fan of him.
I want to address this as well before getting to my core argument: Nick Diaz is one hell of a fighter. Nick Diaz doesn’t have boring fights. Nick Diaz will fight his opponents where they’re best at simply to prove that he can. Inside of the cage, Nick Diaz is one of the best fighters in the world. There’s simply no way to deny that anymore.
Taken purely on his merits inside of the cage, it’s easy to see why Nick Diaz has a following. But to truly understand why Diaz has such a massive following, you have to understand that the thing most people hate about him is also the thing so many people love about him.
The thing I’m talking about is simple: Nick Diaz has no “off” switch. He has no filter. That’s increasingly rare not only in MMA, but in professional sports as a whole. Some people see that as a good thing, and I can certainly see their point: in MMA’s constant quest for widespread acceptance, sometimes we need guys that wear suits, smile their pretty smiles at the camera, and answer in short, respectable sound bites that are as politically correct as they come.
And then you have Nick Diaz, who flips you the bird and calls a press conference a beauty pageant and insinuates that if a reporter came to his neighborhood he’d get slapped.
But none of that is a joke to Nick Diaz. He’s not acting, he’s not playing a character. If Nick Diaz thinks you’re not worthy of his respect, he’ll let you know it. If he thinks the situation he is in sucks and could be better, he’ll let you know it. If he thinks he’s the most under-paid and over-trained fighter in the business, he’ll let you know it. But it’s not because he doesn’t care about what he says, and it’s not because he doesn’t understand that what he says is controversial and could get him into a lot of trouble.
From the long years I’ve followed him, I’ve come to understand that the only emotion Nick Diaz knows is raw emotion. I’ve said before that he has no filter, and it’s as simple as that. He doesn’t care if what he says is controversial, he doesn’t care if he goes on long rambling tangents that have nothing to do with the question he was just asked. He cares about what he says, let me make that clear. He just doesn’t care if your opinion to it is negative. And he’ll talk about anything and everything for as long as you’ll let him.
But you know what that’s called? Honesty. Love him or hate him, but Nick Diaz will let you know what’s on his mind, everything that’s on his mind in fact. Nick Diaz is one of the most brutally honest fighters in MMA today. And it’s that brutal honesty that gets him into a lot of trouble. But it’s that unflinching sense of honesty that draws fans to him. You always know what you’ll get with Nick Diaz.
Nick Diaz is a very complicated man, that's all I can really say. He has this near-unshakeable "us versus the world" belief, and I think he honestly is pretty self-loathing as well. He holds himself to the absolute highest standard, and while it's led to some amazing fights and fantastic victories, it's also led to him doing some pretty bizarre and even stupid things because he seems to be both mad at himself and mad at the world.
But it’s that anger that motivates him to greatness. Of course, there are certainly more noble causes to fight for other than “I’m angry as hell”. Some fighters want to establish and preserve their legacies, others fight for their country or their friends or their families. Those fighters are rightfully put on pedestals and praised as role models of the sport.
Yet answer me this: can you identify, really identify, with those fighters? Do you do your job for honor, for country, for glory? I can appreciate and respect wanting to fight for those lofty ideals. But here’s some open honesty for you: I’ve been mad at the world. I’ve been in situations where I felt like I was mistreated, misjudged, both stepped over and stepped on. And as I’ve come to understand both Nick Diaz and myself better, all of this has led me to one important conclusion.
And so we come to the point where I plant my flag. I respect fighters that fight for glory and respect and honor and for their legacies. I understand the value of fighters that know how to contain themselves and give the press the role models they need in order to sell their sport as something “mainstream America” can accept. None of that is why I am a Nick Diaz fan.
I am a Nick Diaz fan because I empathize with Nick Diaz.
In a perfect world, Nick Diaz wouldn’t complain so much. He’d attend every press conference, he’d smile for the cameras and make nice with his opponents. But we do not live in a perfect world, and Nick Diaz has not had a perfect life. And he is not afraid to let you know that.
Me? I’m plenty scared. I don’t know what the reaction to this will be, and I’m being a lot more open and honest about my own personal situation than I thought I would be when I set out to write this post. I have not had a perfect life, and I am not in the best situation right now, both personally and financially. So when I see Nick Diaz step into the cage, when I see him not only win but dominate despite all his personal flaws and all the people that have made fun of him and disrespected him and belittled him throughout the years… maybe it’s me that I wish was in there doing that.
That’s why I’m a Nick Diaz fan. And that’s really all I have to say.