It hasn't even been a week since Nick Diaz stopped Paul Daley in a classic one round affair at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley and Nick is already expressing his displeasure with...well, with everything. Diaz's ability to deliver an exciting bout is only surpassed by his ability to turn off a portion of the MMA fanbase with his petulant whining. We turn to his recent appearance on Inside MMA for an example:
I don’t see much of a future in this sport for me. I’m signed into a contract I don’t know anything about. All I know is my life is a living Hell full of training… (I) cater to everybody else.
I'm sorry, but if you want more information about your contact, be involved in the negotiation process and make it clear what you want. Now, Diaz has returned to his talk of entering the boxing world. Chasing the big payday that is highly unlikely to ever come.
First it was Ricardo Mayorga or Fernando Vargas. Mayorga got a nice payday recently to take a beating from Miguel Cotto and seems content to phone in the rest of his career and make some money. As for Vargas, it's been three and a half years since he stepped into a boxing ring. I've gone in depth in the past on just how little money there is to be made in those bouts. But just to make it clear, the payday Nick got to fight Daley is likely better than anything he's going to get fighting a shot boxer.
As pointed out in Nate's article yesterday, the Diaz camp appears to have shifted their focus to Jeff Lacy. For some background, Lacy was seen as a major prospect who worked his way up to a run with the IBF super middleweight championship, a belt he would lose in a lopsided decision against Joe Calzaghe. He's won four of his seven bouts since the title loss but somewhat amazingly three of those wins were by majority decision (one judge scored the bout a draw in those three fights). His career has crumbled to the point where he was used as fodder for one of Roy Jones Jr.'s recent failed comeback attempts. Worse than that though, was Lacy losing a clear decision to Dhafir Smith in his last bout. Smith entered the ring that night with a record of 23-19-7. A month later Lacy would be forced to deal with the aftermath of a tragic shootout between his brother and the police that left his brother and two officers dead.
What's the point? It's clear they're trying to cherry pick a former boxing champion for Nick to beat in some effort to build a boxing career. But why? There's probably not going to be more than $50k for Diaz in any of those fights. Is the hope that he can win one of these fights and somehow land in a big fight at 168 lbs? That's a horrribly deep division with no shortage of great fights. No one that can deliver Diaz a big payday is going to mess with him (nor would he have the slightest change in one of those fights).
And that magical "never gonna happen" fight requires Nick to get through a guy in Lacy who, while on the downside of his career, absolutely knows how to box. It's a huge risk to jump to boxing, make less money and still have a very good chance of losing the fight.
There aren't really any big fights left for Nick in Strikeforce. The most intriguing fight for Diaz is a bout with Tyron Woodley. Woodley represents a huge risk. Diaz hasn't fought a wrestler in a very long time and he'd be at risk of being taken down enough to lose a decision to a guy with no real "name value" and damage his brand. Possibly being defeated by decision by a prospect is almost as bad of a potential outcome as going to boxing and losing to a former champion.
So is Diaz running from a bout with Woodley? Is he serious about wanting to box? Is it all about some delusional idea of making Mayweather money? Or is this simply a stunt to force the UFC to bring him into the fold and provide some big money fights that don't ruin the "Diaz brand" should he lose.
There's no safe option for Diaz and his career right now outside of a move to the UFC. Boxing is a no-win situation, there's no great reward to offset the risk of a Woodley fight and staying out of the cage or ring entirely isn't going to do much for his career either. Diaz's career has likely reached a plateau and desperate moves like talking about leaving the sport may be the only play Nick has left.