This is my first fan post, and it deals with a topic I've wanted to tackle for a very long time.
Nick Diaz – A History Of Failing Upwards
I'll be up front and say it, I am not a fan of Nick Diaz at all. I don't like him as a fighter and I don't care for him as a person. How could I possibly not like him? He always gives it everything he has in the cage, he gives his opponents the finger after slapping them in the face, and he always acts like he just doesn't give a crap.
Well, if you're willing to indulge me for a few minutes, I'll explain exactly why.
I look at Nick's antics both inside and outside of the cage with disdain, not admiration like so many others do. Some people enjoy watching him taunt and Stockton slap whoever he's in the cage with, but I'm not one of them. I view this sort of thing as little more than cheap tricks he employs in hopes of causing his opponent to make mistakes that he can capitalize on. They worked when he was fighting lower tier guys during his time outside of the UFC, but not when actually facing the best in the world.
To me, his fight with Carlos Condit showcased just how limited Nick is as a fighter. He used the exact same gameplan he had been using for years, which is to simply plod forward and pin his opponent against the cage so he can pepper with them shots till they drop. When Carlos refused to fall into the same trap that so many had before him, Diaz was unable to do anything about it despite his corner telling him to cut Condit off each time he circled back to the center of the cage. He just kept doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result, that is the definition of insanity.
Diaz and his fans called it running away, I call it fighting smart, only an idiot would play chicken with an oncoming train. Despite being the one moving forward most of the time, Nick was not in control of things, it was Condit masterfully playing Diaz like a violin, he made Nick come to him while out striking him the entire night. Diaz was forced to fight the fight Carlos wanted, not the other way around.
As the fight progressed, Diaz dipped into his normal bag of tricks (taunting, middle finger, and slapping) to try and disrupt Condit's thought process, only this time they had no effect. When Carlos refused to take the bait, Diaz had no idea what to do, this is why I believe he held onto his leg after the end of the 3rd round, he was ready to try anything in hopes of shaking Condit mentally.
That covers him inside the cage, but what about outside of it.
Nick Diaz has a long history of never having to face the consequences for his actions. Most of the time he either hasn't been disciplined at all or in any significant way, or he's actually been rewarded. He also has a habit of throwing a temper tantrum and making up excuses when things haven't gone his way. A true champion faces adversity head on and bounces back, they don't take their ball and go home, you don't need to look any further than GSP for the perfect example of that.
His trainer/manager Cesar Gracie is also right there with a list of excuses for him anytime something goes wrong, in their world there is always some outside force that's to blame, Nick is totally innocent.
Lets look at some of the poor choices Nick has made over the last several years and what happened afterward.
August 2009 – Nick is scheduled to face Jay Hieron for the vacant Strikeforce WW title. At the last minute Nick refused to take a drug test and as a result was not granted a license to fight. He screwed over his fans, his opponent, and the promotion itself.
April 2010 – Following Jake Shield's victory over Dan Henderson, Nick throws the first punch at Mayhem Miller, thus beginning the infamous Nashville Brawl between Miller and several members of the Cesar Gracie camp. Since this incident was broadcast live on CBS, Strikeforce's TV deal went up in a puff of smoke. Pun very much intended.
September 2011 – After signing with the UFC and vacating his Strikeforce WW title, Nick is granted the next shot at GSP's UFC WW title, he is then promptly pulled from the fight for not showing up to two different press conferences. This is the first time since his failed drug test in 2006 that he's been seriously disciplined for his actions.
Aftermath: After a game of musical chairs due to Diaz's behavior and the great injury curse, Nick is rebooked to face BJ Penn in the main event of UFC 137. After his victory, Carlos Condit was pushed aside from his #1 contender position so Nick could have a second chance at GSP's title.
February 2012 – Since GSP will be out for most of the upcoming year, Nick and Carlos Condit fight in an Interim WW title match at UFC 143. Nick loses by unanimous decision. In his post fight interview he complains about not being paid enough, claims that he was screwed over by the judges, and caps it off by saying he's retiring from MMA.
Aftermath: Nick tests positive for weed for the second time in his career, he is given a 12 month suspension and fined $79,500. Nick and his legal team spend the next several months trying to have the suspension ended or reduced, various legal gymnastics are attempted and lawsuits are filed, but all of them end in failure.
May 2012 – After agreeing to face Braulio Estima in an exhibition grappling match at the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo, Diaz no shows the event without explanation, once again he has left his fans and his opponent confused and angry over his absence.
Aftermath: Diaz didn't just disappoint his fans, but no showing was also bad for a children's hospital that he was going to donate his purse to. Over the next several days both sides share their own version of events and point fingers at each other.
NOTE: I've heard that the hospital was later paid, but I don't know which side coughed up the money nor have I ever seen confirmation of the news, just second hand reports.
And that brings us to right now, just over a week away from UFC 158 where GSP will be defending his title against the pride of Stockton, this despite Nick never having beaten a top WW in the UFC, his last victory coming well over a year ago, losing his last fight with Condit, and sitting out for a year due to his inability to follow the rules.
The UFC is promoting this as some sort of grudge match between the two, GSP was insulted by Diaz and now he wants to teach him a lesson, all while ignoring the fact that Nick has no real claim to a title shot at this point. Meanwhile the true #1 contender, Johny Hendricks, was passed over in favor of Diaz simply because he prefers to let his actions speak for themselves instead of just trash talking. Johny is riding a five fight win streak which includes three straight wins over fighters ranked in the top 10 with two of those wins earning him KOTN bonuses.
Why in the world is Diaz being gifted his third (or fourth depending on how you count ) chance at UFC gold instead of Hendricks? Well if you ask his fans, odds are they will tell you that Nick is a HUGE draw and a fight with GSP will make everyone more money than a fight with Hendricks, I dispute this based on his PPV numbers alone.
His fight with Penn at 137 drew only 280k buys, while his fight with Condit drew only 400k buys despite it being a (interim) title match and having three Primetime specials to help promote the event. For comparison, UFC 146 did over 560k buys with a main card that had every single match changed (several times in some cases) and was capped off by a lame duck Frank Mir challenging JDS for the HW title.
For his last two fights with Jake Shields and Carlos Condit, GSP drew in the neighborhood of 800k and 700k respectively, so it will be interesting to see how far and in which direction Diaz will be able to move that needle. And I firmly believe that if the UFC can promote Diaz as the top challenger despite all evidence to the contrary, then there is no reason they couldn't do the same with Hendricks who actually has the resume and highlight reel to back it up.
My whole point here is this, Nick is almost 30 years old, and he's spent a good chunk of his life surrounded by people who've done nothing but enable and encourage his bad behavior, and it's time for it to stop. He's a grown man and needs to learn to stand on his own two feet and people need to stop providing him with a safety net.
Instead of thanking his lucky stars that he hasn't been punished far worse than he already has and being grateful for the multiple opportunities he's been given, he'd rather bitch and moan about not being paid enough and spout conspiracy theories about how the world is clearly out to screw him over.
He needs to stop acting like a spoiled man-child and accept responsibility for his own actions. Maybe if he had been forced to earn this upcoming shot at GSP instead of it just being gift wrapped for him, he wouldn't be acting like a 16 year old who thinks the world owes him a favor and hates his job at Burger King.
But what do I know? I'm just a fan who'd rather see champions defend their belts against someone who has climbed to the top of the mountain instead of someone who's just been placed there again and again each time they've fallen off.
Thanks for reading