Here we are. At the end of a Nick Diaz fight week. Actually, THE Nick Diaz fight week because after tomorrow it all changes forever. There have been work outs missed, production trucks driving around Stockton racking up bills north of $60k searching for the elusive brothers, crazy ramblings from Nick, a war of words between Dana and Cesar, and countless articles with hundreds, thousands of comments following every move leading up to this fight. This has been a long road for all of us and it is worth reflecting for a moment how we got here as fans because I sincerely believe that all of us, save a very small few, were at one time or other a big fan of Nick Diaz.
As we look back on Nick's sometimes fantastic, sometimes infuriating career there was a point where Nick lost you as his fan. Perhaps it was his during his losing streak in the UFC that we began to hear Nick's complaints about the sport, maybe it was the positive marijuana test after the beautiful gogoplata he tapped Takanori Gomi with, it could have been when he left Jay Hieron and the fans high and dry to avoid another positive test, of course the Nashville brawl and the aftermath shed a ton of fans, most likely you had your fill when he completely botched a title shot he questionably deserved by not showing up at a press conference, ultimately it might have been the utter hypocritical disrespect he showed to the Gracie name and Gracie Jiu Jitsu, that he constantly said he was representing, when he left Braulio Estima waiting patiently on the mat only to no show and snub the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community. At some point he lost his fan base and it was replaced with a sentinel like angry mob waiting to rain down derision at Nick's every move. This fan base had turned rabid. As boisterous, and mostly obnoxious, as the old Diaz "fanboy" "skrap packers" were in the past they were easily replaced and outnumbered by the Anti-Diaz fan in recent years, and that was Nick's doing. Now, an article can pop up and the first comments either in our actual conversations or here on the message boards will bash Diaz and then boldly state "Bring on the Stockton Slap", waiting for the Diaz fan to unleash hate on these detractors, but those days are gone. That fan doesn't show up and certainly not in droves as they would in the past. Now, it seems the irrationality has shifted. The Diaz hate is at its highest levels and Layzie the Savage isn't coming to fight the tide. The Anti-Diaz fan has become a Don Quioxote searching for windmills to battle. It seems everyone has been assimilated and we are at the anticlimactic end of a tiny apocalypse. This last week felt more like a guilty pleasure trash reality TV show marathon than the build up to a fight between two great mixed martial artists.
This is the fork in the road for Nick Diaz and the MMA community as a whole. We can chronicle the years and know this is the fight that Nick projected the success or failure of his own career upon. Georges St Pierre, his Moby Dick. He has the enormous pressure and anticipation of a whole career leading to one night, one fight. For the MMA fan community it is a fascinating moment. Georges is a top pound for pound champion and will go down as one of the sport's greats but tomorrow night isn't about GSP's legacy the way a fight like this should be, it's about the decimation of MMA's ultimate miscreant. There are still some holding out hope, perhaps simply for the sheer chaos, that in the middle of a scramble an arm is left open and Nick snags it turning the world upside down. That is highly unlikely. Most likely Georges will retain his title and the comet that was Nick Diaz will burn out. That will be that. For everything that Nick has put us through, because as I said, I believe at one time, however brief, almost all had to be a fan of this brazen warrior, he will go to the cage to entertain the hell out of us. The lights will go out in the Bell Centre, the camera will follow the stone faced Nick Diaz to to the cage greeted to a chorus of boos, Georges will soon follow to a hero's homecoming, the door will close and as the ref asks them if they want to touch gloves to do it now, Nick will look into GSP's eyes and say "Come on, bitch!", and at some point we will collectively exhale realizing what we are about to watch. We have reached the fork in the road.