Nick Diaz, a man that has been ridiculed by fight fans and media alike for his unwillingness to fall in line with the mainstream media's view for as to how a fighter should conduct themselves on-camera, has carved out a pretty decent following for himself despite the lack of approval from the men that supposedly matter, and the following doesn't seem to be dieing down any time soon. In careless fashion, Nick will let his opinions be known regardless of what some may think and as he says he'll always 'keep it real'. A savant in the fine art of speaking in a discursive style, Nick will keep you listening regardless of the subject matter.
Coming into this past Saturday night's main event bout against Paul 'Semtex' Daley a good portion of the pre-fight buildup took a turn towards other non-fight matters with Ariel Helwani's interview that he conducted alongside the Stockton native.
When asked by Ariel how Nick was feeling as the fight drew closer Nick told Ariel that he was feeling good but also included that the only reason that he was speaking with him was because he was told that he had to do so. Ariel, seeming somewhat perplexed, asked Nick if he had an issue with him and Nick let his opinion of the AOL Fanhouse journalist be known. Nick stated that he didn't like how Ariel attempts to goad fighters into talking trash about one another and create beef between them with playground 'he said, she said' tactics. Not only did he say that he doesn't approve of Ariel's interviewing style, he also informed Ariel of the repercussions that would come to him if he acted that way in Stockton; a bitch slap to the face.
With respect for what Ariel's role is I have to side with Ariel in the fact that he doesn't do anything that any good reporter wouldn't do themselves. Ariel's job is to pump up a fight and while Nick pointed out that Ariel does it because that's what he's paid to do in reality he's also putting money in Nick's pockets. The game of pre-fight trash talking banter may not be something that Nick is keen on involving himself with unless he himself initiates it, but it plays a vital roll in drawing attention toward him which can be nothing but a positive for Nick in the long run.
While the response may not have been a response that fans could collectively agree with Nick on it was a direct reflection for as to why Nick Diaz fans are Nick Diaz fans to begin with. Fans of Nick love his way of completely altering the focus of an interview and transforming it into a discussion that he finds interesting, which in turn his fans find interesting.
Typically with fighters we get the expected and generic retorts when they're asked by news reporters fight related questions, but Nick's answers always fall outside of the box of normalcy. The awkwardness that's seen time and time again has become an expectation of sorts which quite a few people look forward to watching, Diaz haters included. The communication skills of Nick, or lack thereof depending on what your opinion is, appeals to the entire fight fan spectrum. Love him or hate him, fans are always up for a Nick Diaz interview.
Not only do Nick's on-camera appearances draw massive amounts of interest with the online MMA community, it also gives fans a glimpse into the world of Nick Diaz that don't get seen as often as other fighters due to his lack of interest with making media appearances when it's not absolutely necessary of him to do so. Nick's several minute long tangents that he seems to get into rather easily are actually something that fans look forward to hearing as Nick Diaz supporters. If you actually listen to Nick and get past the awkward stares off into space along with the 'ya knows' and 'umms', he actually supplies a lot of solid content.
For example, when Ariel Helwani asked Nick if their was a lot of mutual respect between him and Paul, Nick not only commented on the question at hand but also made comments concerning fighters not fighting to win, why Pride rules led to more exciting fights with the use of the yellow card, how organizations that buy out the competition in order to favor their rules are bad for the sport, why the Japanese are the ones that truly understand the meaning of martial arts and how the US MMA scene is geared towards wrestlers and how he's had to adapt his game to be able to compete in that sort of environment. Does anyone really care about a tangent when you get this type of insight? I think not.
For as much flack as Nick gets on the MMA message boards diffused throughout the Internet, deep down people really are intrigued with what they hear when Nick speaks. The interest might not be something that you'll see people type out in their responses to Nick Diaz Interview threads, but the shear volume of responses alone is a clear indication that the interest is there. Nick isn't stupid and he's got you talking whether you like or not. I for one applaud Nick with his ability to captivate an audience with a ten minute Youtube video or less. Keep doing what you're doing Nick. I'll be listening whenever your next interview comes out.
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