Nick Diaz is a warrior—he’s willing fight anyone, anytime, anywhere. Just a few years ago, the world of MMA catered perfectly to such temperaments. Unfortunately for Diaz, the landscape has drastically changed. No longer the underground renegade it once was, Mixed Martial Arts has injected itself into mainstream media. The Ultimate Fighting Championship has become MMA’s most powerful organization, but as Benjamin Parker famously told his nephew, "With great power comes great responsibility." In Diaz’s eyes, responsibilities such as interviews, magazine shoots, and press tours have nothing to do with battle. His only concern is persevering through war, both mental and physical—promotional pageantry is nothing but meaningless.
For many fighters, fierce demeanors are forged through tumultuous childhoods. Nicholas Robert Diaz is no different. He grew up on the harrowing streets of Stockton, California without the guidance of his biological father. Years of bullying forced his mentality to callous. Diaz turned to karate and aikido in hopes of minimizing the beatings he’d routinely receive. Taking to the arts like a desert to rain, Diaz slowly transformed himself from victim to savage. He still didn’t look for fights, but now he had no trouble finishing them.
As his record indicates (21 finishes inside 26 wins), Diaz has always been as game as they come. Media obligations, however, are a different story. Diaz secured a title fight against Welterweight Champion George St. Pierre at UFC 137 but quickly lost his spot when he blew off a mandatory press conference. Nearly seventeen months later, Diaz reclaimed a shot at St. Pierre’s belt, but not without another dollop of drama. True to past form, he once again began shirking his promotional responsibilities. According to Dana White, Diaz cost the UFC upwards of $50,000 by skipping mandatory interviews for the organization’s pre-fight "Countdown" program. Nick eventually fulfilled his obligations, but it’s clear he experiences great discomfort partaking in any duties extracurricular to fighting. In fact, when recently asked about owning a computer, Diaz replied, "After my last fight I bought one. I have no clue how to work it nor have any intention of chatting on here…"
And there you have it. Nick Diaz is not a self-promoter. Nick Diaz is not a marketing guru. Nick Diaz is not a social butterfly. Nick Diaz is a fighter. Rather than a Jack-of-all-trades, he prefers to be the master of one. He yearns for the glory days when fights were exclusive to fighting. To be fair, many fighters enjoy the newfound exposure raining upon them. In Diaz’s case, he’d be much happier training under an umbrella. Unfortunately for Diaz, umbrellas no longer exist in the transparent world of social media and 24-hour news cycles.
Only time will tell if the Stockton native can successfully adapt to the ever changing atmosphere of MMA, but even if he never finds comfort in today’s era, one thing’s for sure—when Diaz enters the cage, he’s most certainly in the right place.