Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Sorry if I misled anyone to believing this was a blog or movie review regarding the classic western from the '60's, but I couldn't think of a better title to describe current UFC welterweight Nick Diaz. Unfortunately, I just couldn't find a photo of him wearing a cowboy hat; especially after the way his brother Nate threw down Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone's hat last month either.

Yet, if I looked hard enough, I probably could find a photo of him with a spliff in his mouth though. Nonetheless, the timeless image of legendary actor Clint Eastwood playing the character 'Blondie' in the movie will do just fine to illustrate the many sides there are to this complex, but talented young fighter and individual.

Considering I just wrote about Nick Diaz last week and chastised him for his, more or less, spoiled brat behavior after his decision loss to Carlos Condit, I don't want people to think I'm fighter bashing or even player hating. Truth is, I am a huge fan of Nick Diaz, always have been, when it comes to his fighting style. He not only brings it, but he's extremely skilled; sadly though, that's where it ends.

The news this week that Diaz was the one fighter to fail his post fight drug test after last weekend's event solidifies my reasoning. I'm sure Nick Diaz supporters will argue that at least it wasn't for performance enhancing drugs, thus he garnered no known advantage in his fight against Condit. They might even argue that even while under the influence of marijuana metabolites in his system, Diaz was able to put forth the effort he did during the fight. All that is fine and dandy, but it doesn't make it right.

The bottom line is Nick Diaz was busted for a drug of abuse; one that is not only banned by the UFC, but is illegal to use in this country. That is unless you are from the State of California where the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is allowed. Now Diaz is from California and although not official, may say that the use of marijuana helps him in some emotional way, which he has not said. However, when it comes to fighting in sanctioned mixed martial arts, it is considered a banned substance.

The good about Nick Diaz is he is an extremely talented fighter who is very popular amongst MMA fans. The fact that he shoots straight from the hip, no pun intended, when revealing his thoughts is considered noble; people appreciate the honest candor of a professional athlete who doesn't sugarcoat everything with cliches and textbook responses. On top of that, his fighting style is appealing to those who enjoy action, skilled at the highest level, in the cage.

The bad is that he enjoys getting blazed. Like I said, I am not hating on Diaz or anyone else that partakes in smoking marijuana, but let's call it for what it is; Nick Diaz likes puffing trees and as a professional fighter, that is a problem. This is the second time he's failed a test in Vegas for weed, the first time being five years ago after his epic fight at Pride 33 against then number one in the world Takanori Gomi. He won that fight, but ultimately his failed test cost him the victory as it was ruled a no contest.

Finally, the ugly is that Nick Diaz is the type of athlete that walks to the beat of his own drum and does not do well with what he considers restraints on his personal viewpoints. Just like Ricky Williams in the NFL, he'd rather throw it all away rather than conform to the rules of the game. That's why I said last week; he's the kid in the playground that will take his ball home if he doesn't get his way. If his attitude doesn't make a sudden change, he'll soon find that society and not MMA will be his biggest problem.

Sure he's in his prime and at the top of his game now; thus, he has some leverage in terms of his power within the game. However, in a few years when he is no longer in demand as an athlete and he has to make it in the world outside of the cage, where the rules are a lot more stringent, how will Nick Diaz react? On one hand, you have a person who is disciplined enough to train himself for triathlons, yet on the other hand doesn't have the discipline to say no to drugs. In a nutshell, that is the good, the bad and the ugly of Nick Diaz.

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