I’ve held my tongue long enough of this issue, and if it’s not the last time I go on this type of rant, don’t be surprised.
Ever since Nick Diaz got back into the UFC in 2011, he essentially garnered a permanent spotlight in the world of MMA with his trash talking attitude. From taunting his opponents to calling them out repeatedly, he knows how to market himself well for whatever fight he wants. This played very well into the hands of the mainstream of MMA media, and they were just enamored to talk about him. He got their attention, and they were hooked like a 5-year old that got a new toy to play with. After losing his title fight to Georges St. Pierre in March of 2013, he retired shortly thereafter, keeping that status until at least July of 2013. Now, he wants to get back into the mix.
However, his recent attempt to get attention have run into a brick wall, and his name is UFC President Dana White. No matter how many times reporters ask him questions regarding the former Strikeforce champion, who he keeps saying is retired, White manages to be as coy as possible and brush off any possibility of the elder Diaz brother fighting at the moment. That doesn’t mean he’ll never fight in the UFC, again, but White is certainly putting it off as much as he can. It’s like you can almost envision Diaz, himself, standing in the conference room yelling his patented “Don’t be scared, homie!” threat right at White. That’s usually how annoyed, but also amused, the UFC boss looks at the endless questioning.
Honestly, I never took the hype of Nick Diaz seriously, and saw the media spotlight on him annoying and a waste of time. In my eyes, he was just the classic instigating lunatic yelling from the sidelines who needed to lose a couple fights to eventually shut him up. Clearly, that didn’t work out. That’s not to say he doesn’t have the skills to back up his words and be a great fighter. He clearly has had a lot of success in the sport, but it’s never really been championship material, where he can be a dominating force. He also seemed to be a tool used by the UFC to get attention with some manufactured feuds, which mostly involved him defiantly yelling at a camera demanding fights and calling out the likes of Georges St. Pierre to fight for the title. Because of his crazy antics, I mostly ignored his existence, and I still do to this day.
Now, all of a sudden, he has catapulted himself back into the spotlight, again, and the media is buzzing with excitement for more drama. Prior to the UFC 171 weigh-ins, he was in the crowd taunting Johny Hendricks as he came in for his second attempt to make weight, after surprisingly being 1.5 lbs too heavy an hour earlier. Currently, Diaz is trying to beg his way back into contention with his other fellow welterweights, but Dana White isn’t giving him the nod, yet. Unfortunately, for the Stockton-native, he hasn’t been having much luck convincing the UFC boss to get back to fighting regularly.
Just to give readers an idea of how much the media asks questions of White regarding Diaz, I did a quick Google search, and put together a short timeline of quotes from the UFC President referencing him:
- November 10, 2013 – “I offered Nick Diaz a fight last week and his manager called me back saying he’s retired.“
- December 15, 2013 – “What I was going to do was, I was trying to make Carlos Condit vs. Nick Diaz. But he said he doesn’t want it.“
- December 29, 2013 – White’s response to Roy Jones Jr. wanting to fight Nick Diaz: “I’ll think about it.“
- February 23, 2014 – White on Diaz demanding a fight: “It’s not even worth talking about. He hasn’t fought, he hasn’t wanted a fight, he’s not even in the conversation.“
And those are just the things I could dig up. The constant questions about Diaz seem to come up during every press conference and every media scrum, though, so there is never a shortage of Diaz references. Following Johny Hendricks’ UFC 171 victory, where he captured the Welterweight title, Nick Diaz’s rank in the division is already being considered by a number of websites.
It’s gotten so ridiculous that Hendricks himself is actually open to giving him a title shot, even though he doesn’t think he deserves it. Keep in mind, we’re just a couple days removed from Hendricks’ title fight with Lawler, where he became Welterweight champion, and Diaz was demanding a shot at him almost immediately.
Luckily, a few sensible MMA columnists, ESPN’s Brett Okamoto and Alex Schlinsky of FanSided.com, agree with me, both writing well-thought out articles today trying to convince everyone that Diaz isn’t deserving of a title shot right now.
I’m glad someone in the mainstream MMA media is saying it.
The less we in the media talk about Nick Diaz, the more we can talk about the fighters who actually deserve their title shots, or at least important fights that can award someone to be the #1 contender. It’s encouraging that White is being so defiant with Diaz, instead of letting his big mouth grant him his opportunities. A real fighter should work his way up back to contention, and when you’ve lost your last two fights, with your last one in lopsided fashion, why should you be given something just because you ask for it? That’s not how it works in the real world.
The sooner Diaz realizes that, the easier he can get through to White. Personally, I hope he keeps up his nutty ways, because then he won’t get what he wants. Maybe he can go fight with the lower-level fighters in Bellator, where he can be champion and win fights easier. Other than beating an already aging BJ Penn, who else has Diaz shown that he can beat? I don’t think he even deserves to be in the UFC until he starts acting like a normal human being. Some people might see that as him being “real” or “honest”, but it makes the sport and its athletes look bad.