Nick Diaz is cleared to fight again. The extended ban stemming from a failed UFC 183 drug test for marijuana (and the following unpaid fines) has finally been lifted. And while rumors fly about just who he’ll face in his return to MMA (and when), it seems Diaz has been keeping busy.
Just a few days ago he was on the Jasta Show, hosted by Hatebreed front man Jamey Jasta. While there, Nick addressed a whole bunch of topics, including the time Rampage Jackson tried to steal his crush at a Burger King.
But apart from teenage heartache, Diaz had a lot to say about Eddie Alvarez’s fight with Conor McGregor, and more specifically about the difficulty for fighters in keeping their family life from intruding on their fighting careers.
“You know what?” Diaz started. “I have nothing against Alvarez. Like, I like Alvarez. I've never had nothing bad to say about him. He's started kinda popping off about... I don't care. He can say whatever he wants...
“Just in general, I'm just disappointed in him for the fight. I want to feel sorry for him. I want to feel like, ‘Man, I feel bad for you.’ But, you know what? What do you think you're going to get, dude. You have a whole... I don't want to disrespect Eddie Alvarez. What I'm saying though is, that he's invested a lot of his time and efforts elsewhere and not in fighting. In the time leading up to that fight, I think McGregor put a lot more time into it and understanding. And he was a lot more in tune with his understanding. Where Eddie Alvarez is kinda just, he thinks he's a winner, and he wants to believe that. McGregor knows why he's a winner and knows why he believes that. For me, I have to base my faith in stuff that works and shit I can see and stuff that I know. Not just like, "Oh, yeah you know, I'm gonna win by..." Pump myself up and go out there. I think about, "Okay, well, if this guy does this, I'm gonna do that." And I can see it. I know, I watch. I know what I'm looking at.
“And I think a lot of other people,” Diaz continued, “there's just not enough time in the day for them to do what I do and have a whole life on the side. Which is just, for sure, what he's got. The majority of fighters have that, and they think they need that. And I understand. I needed that too, I've had long relationships. But, at the same time I had one foot in the door and one foot in the cage. These guys are like waist deep in that shit and the other half of them is going into fighting. And I'm like, I will fuckin' beat you into the ground in front of your whole life that I don't get to have. I don't have that. That's just how I look at it, and it's not a good thing, it's not a bad thing. It's just, it's not the end of the world is how I've got to look at it. It's a curse, it's fucked. If I do it right, I can fuckin' make some money.”
And it’s not just the idea of having a relationship, or distractions around them, but - as Diaz went on to elaborate - his feeling that fighters can’t fully invest in their character as a fighter first and foremost. Being a father or a husband has to come first for a lot of people.
“And these guys aren't really putting it all together,” Diaz explained. “As of right now, that window to generate... Like I was saying about a lot of these guys that haven't invested in the character and if they were to now, it'd be fake. And the reason that they haven't been able to invest in what would have been their natural character throughout their career is because they've limited themselves by having a lot of life on the side. And even if you say, ‘Oh, that's just by chance, because you grew up in Stockton and there is no life on the side there.’ It's not easy to settle when there's nothing to settle for. And so, you don't. That's kind of a sad thing. I think about it, ‘It is what it is.’ I'm like, ‘I'm grateful for it.’ You would want to say, ‘I hate where I live,’ or ‘I hate where I'm from.’ I actually still want to live there. I haven't been home this whole year, I've gotten all kinds of shit done. I made a whole shitton of money outside of fighting. But, I want to go home. I would like to go home, teach class, train, get out on a swim, go on a ride, you know?”
“At the same time, I can't blame people for indulging in a nice wife and a nice life, with kids and all these happy things, and a white picket fence. That's what I want too. But unfortunately, I don't get to fuckin' go there until I whoop your ass. I don't get to do that. There's been times when I'm thinkin' I'm going in the wrong direction with that. Like, maybe if you get your girlfriend knocked up or something, but you don't know, but you're like, ‘Oh shit.’ I'm going like, ‘What am I gonna do?’ I'd quit. If I had a kid right now, if I, right now, had a kid coming? It wouldn't change things for me and I'd go, ‘Oh, I really have to take this serious and go fight.’ No. Now it's over. I'm done. I'm not fighting and having people depend on me. I don't like that sort of support. My parents, I don't even talk to them. I love my mom and dad, but I don't fuckin' see 'em, I don't talk to them. I don't fuckin' talk to them. I like to help out if I can, I don't talk to them, because they know what I do, they want to know about it, they get in my business, and it doesn't enhance my sense of security. And I don't think it enhances theirs either, so I stay the fuck out.”
But, balancing that extreme separation between social life and fighting career has taken time. Diaz gave some detail on his struggles to find the right balance, including how Ronda Rousey finally got him to loosen up a little and have a few drinks between fights.
“I didn't know how,” Diaz responded when asked about narrowing the circle of people around him. “I had to... Listen, let me just try to paint a picture for you. I was going to Las Vegas, I take my best friend. I need to be in Vegas for, I forget whatever reason... I'm throwing a show called WAR. This lawyer, Jonathan Tweedale's talking me into throwing a show, we need to throw a show. I'm like, ‘Okay, is this going to make money?’ I still don't know what kind of money I made or lost on that thing. But, I'm trying to get this guy to paint a picture for me, we're throwing a show, he's with my triathlon coach Damian Gonzalez to help throw it. And then we go to Vegas. I've got my friend Justin... I just started drinking. I didn't drink my whole 20s. Did not have one fucking drink.
“It didn't sit right with me when I was back... When I started training and I'd go out and try and have some drinks it always killed my game or I ended up sick after two drinks and I wouldn't get drunk. It just didn't sit right with me. So I was like, ‘I don't have time to fool around with this.’ I just knocked it off. I didn't have any temptation to want to drink. I was like, ‘Drinking's bad for you, it makes me feel like shit, I have to train tomorrow. And I have a fight coming up, always.’ So, I didn't drink, until I met Ronda. Ronda Rousey came to my house and she was like, ‘Motherfucker, you need to loosen up.’ She put a bottle of tequila in front of me, boom, slid it over on the table, and she's like, ‘Time for you to have a shot.’ I'm like, ‘Ohhh, alright. Alright, I'll get drunk with you.’
“No, she's great,” Diaz said of Rousey. “I mean, who the fuck doesn't drink in their 20s? It's like, ‘C'mon.’ Me. I didn't drink for my whole 20s, I was 30 by this time. No, I was 29, I was 29. But, there's no temptation when there's no understanding, you see what I mean? So, I had to fight, basically I don't want to get drunk and get punched tomorrow. I want to go not get drunk and get punched tomorrow, that'll probably be better. So it's simple, I didn't drink.
“People don't understand, I'm like, ‘Look, when I say three to five fights a fuckin' year, I mean it! I mean...’ When you're talking about a straight punch, like how McGregor did on Alvarez, when Alvarez was... What the fuck was that? He threw a right hand like a jab. He didn't throw the right hand, he didn't set up his right hand or nothin'. He poked two right hands out there at that guy, stuck his head forward and threw two right hand arm punches at McGregor. McGregor slid back a half an inch like, ‘Motherfucker, are you fuckin' kidding me? What's that shit?’ BOW! Fuckin' cracked him like, what!? And I thought he trained somewhere where theres Timothy Bradley or somebody. And I'm like, but you didn't learn... Guarantee he didn't put no work in with them. And if he did, ol' Timothy's workin' with him and he's putting him on a level way down here. He's like, ‘Oh yeah, you're doin' good, you're doin' good.’
“When I go to spar Andre Ward, he ain't WORKIN' WITH me! That's what you don't understand, people are like, ‘Oh, you spar with Andre Ward.’ I go fuckin' spar Andre... I have a huge respect for Andre. I would never fuckin' talk shit to the guy, I would never be like, ‘Oh, I would take you down,’ or ‘Oh, I would beat you in MMA.’ He doesn't do that to me, I don't do that to him. I've had good days in there with him, I've had really bad days in there with him, too. But at the same time, there's a level of respect and understanding that goes on. But, when I go in there to spar with somebody like that, you don't fuck around.”
There’s a whole lot more in the interview, so check the whole thing out below. Must listen stuff for Nick Diaz fans. In the meantime, there are rumors out that Diaz vs. Lawler 2 may be in the works, so stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and updates.