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Nick Diaz: The Greatest No Show on Earth

May 16, 2012 All MMA News, Blogs  Comments 

Right off the bat I want to clarify this: I enjoy Nick Diaz fights. He fights with intent to finish fights all the while bringing a persona into the cage that makes for compelling viewing. I sat in my local pub with two mates watching UFC 143. Myself and one mate had it split decision in Carlos Condit’s favour, the other split decision for Diaz based on what we believed the judges would be looking at the most. Despite what we all believed, the fight was a more measured pace and technical display but I enjoyed it. I could see how both could walk away with the win. Both Diaz and Condit in my opinion did their job, though Condit annoyed many fans his style was effective against Diaz.

What I did not expect post fight was essentially Diaz taking his bat and ball and going home. He hated the decision, felt he was being victimized and decided the best way to deal with that issue was to retire from the sport in the cage. Granted, it seems he has had a change of heart but it showed something: When Diaz feels his back is against the wall outside the cage, he hits the highway.

This in cage retirement was after the missed flights for his press commitments, for a title fight with Georges St Pierre. How many fighters are banging on that door for that title shot, calling people out to move up that ladder and Nick decides he wanted no part of the PR. Part of the blame needs to rest with his team around him but after all excuses are put aside, Diaz is no newcomer the sport and a grown man. He knows what is required of him as a professional athlete. Like you or I in our various jobs, there are things required of us which we may despise.  We do it because it is the nature of our jobs, we need the money. Diaz made a lot of noise about making more money in boxing than MMA but when he had the chance to make serious money, he could not follow through with the required commitments. If Diaz switches to boxing, he will have a lot of press to deal with there too.

The latest no show is becoming a Diaz trademark. I have read what Cesar Gracie wrote about how the grappling match with Braulio Estima descended into farce. If you have the chance to read it, do yourself a favour and read it. It makes sense. In a nutshell, there were problems with changes in promoters, a belief Estima wanted to use the Diaz name to further a Mixed Martial Arts career and a missed weigh in the night before. Estima did weigh in at the required 180lb limit of the day of the match. Diaz had already blown off the match by this point. Whether or not you agree that a missed weigh is one thing. I personally disagree as several fighters have agreed and won their fights. Several that pop into mind are Matt Hughes /Joe Riggs, Vitor Belfort / Anthony Johnson and Chael Sonnen / Paulo Filho. It is no guarantee that being the heavier fighter means you walk away with the win. I understand if Diaz felt that Estima, one of the greatest Brazilian Jiu jitsu practitioners in the world, would have had an unfair advantage being heavier than his opponent. After all, almost no one gave Diaz a chance to win this fight and considered his best chance a loss on points. This in no respect to Diaz but when you are rolling with a man of Estima’s calibre there are but a handful of people that can hang and Diaz is not a full time BJJ guy. Weight and size do play a factor in a fight, just look Jon Jones’s freakish reach against Evans and it was not even close. Diaz’s contest with Penn proved size and weight does matter. Penn should not have been in there with a guy who had close to 20lbs on him.

I would have been fine if Diaz had of come out himself and stated on the day, even on the mat then and there his reasons behind his decisions. However, since Diaz had decided to leave, it is now the job of Cesar Gracie to clean up this mess and speak for Nick. I got to think even Cesar is getting tired of apologizing for Nick. Running from the spotlight as a well-known fighting identity is not a viable option because you will be found. It is the nature of the beast, just like it is for Hollywood actors. Once you have that fame, they will decide when they are done with you. Nick has to find a better approach to dealing with adversity. I know Nick has some mental health issues and these can be complicated, believe me I know many people very close to me with similar and worse mental health problems. It is part of who he is and as such it needs to be managed by somebody. Whether it is a minder that takes charge and gets him to where he needs to be or a family member that Nick believes in to be his support, something needs to change. I respect what Cesar has done for Nick over the years but it appears he is not the man to manage this as this is a recurring pattern. Nick likes fighting but not what comes with it so get someone in that can shield him as much as possible to keep him focussed.

Nick is young, marketable, a great fighter and from what I am told when you gain his trust, a genuine nice guy. He donated that money to charity as agreed out his own pocket, which was a class act. What I would hate to see is a man who has the potential to be considered one of the greats of MMA be reduced to a media sideshow. We all know of sports stars’ falling from grace and Nick deserves better. One day if he can get his head right and in a good place, I have no doubt Nick can be a UFC champion but until he sorts himself, he will fall short.

By Alex Durward

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