If there is one thing that has always made UFC welterweight fighter Nick Diaz such a popular and polarizing figure among fans it is his candor. Granted he is a great fighter and is always guaranteed to lay it on the line when inside the cage, which is just as big a reason why; but his honest personality and willingness to keep it real is what truly sets him apart.
In the world of sports and entertainment, where fame and fortune could easily change a person's personality, Diaz has always been the same person. That is why I found it strange and disheartening as a fan last night when he acted the way he did upon hearing the decision of his fight with new interim champion Carlos Condit. Sure he was disappointed with the outcome, but his reaction was not reminiscent of Nick Diaz the competitor.
In a close fight that made me instantly think of Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard's 'Superfight' in boxing from 1987, Diaz resembled Hagler. Throughout the fight, he stalked his opponent while attempting to be the aggressor. Meanwhile, Condit played Leonard as he stuck and moved while weaving in and out and picking his shots. While the outcome was the same, as Leonard also won a close decision, the difference here was Hagler had a platform to be disappointed.
For the record, I had Leonard winning that fight in '87 seven rounds to five. However, last night I had Condit winning the fight four rounds to one. My basis was simple, effective striking and ring generalship; those are two of the three main criteria a judge must use in mixed martial arts when scoring a fight. Of course, effective grappling is the third, where Diaz clearly won the only exchange of such in the last round, thus the reason I gave him the round. Yet, for all the (s)talking he did throughout the first four rounds, he lost in the battle of the other two.
Notice I have the letter 'S' in the word stalking in parentheses. That is because while he was "stalking" down his opponent throughout the fight, he was wasting time talking down his opponent as well. In typical Diaz fashion, but also in a desperate sign of frustration, Diaz kept throwing his hands up at Condit in disgust as he tried in vain to goat the Albuquerque, New Mexico product into his realm. To Condit's credit, he never bit at the bait; choosing instead to stick to his game plan of sticking and moving.
Also to Condit's credit, he fought; maybe not to the liking of hardcore Diaz fans or to fans who crave the blood and guts style of a Toughman competition, but like it or not he fought. Take one look at Nick Diaz's face and that should tell you whether or not Carlos Condit fought. More importantly, I'd like to take a look at Diaz's right leg this morning where Condit effectively showered it with round kicks throughout. To quote Diaz, "All he did throughout was pepper me with baby kicks." I'm willing to bet those "baby kicks" have changed the color of Diaz's leg drastically today.
After the fight, the judges scored the fight 48-47, 49-46 and 49-46 for the winner Carlos Condit; more or less the way I saw the fight. Upon hearing the decision, Diaz pulled away from the ref in disgust and his face showed a sign of bewilderment. In his mind he truly believed he won the fight; or did he? His post-fight interview with Joe Rogan tends to suggest otherwise.
When Rogan asked his opinion on the fight, Diaz responded by saying, "I'm not going to accept the fact that this is a loss." He also said, "You guys pay me a ton, but I don't think I'm getting enough to keep going on." ..."I don't want to play this game anymore." In other words, Nick Diaz decided to pout and whine as the caricature above suggest. For all the bravado and straight talking attitude he portrays, he ended up being the kid on the playground who took his ball home if he didn't get to play by his rules. Thanks for playing Nick, so much for keeping it real.