(A loaded bowl, nunchucks, and a ball on a string. In Stockton, this is how you go gently into that good night.)
I just can’t anymore with Nick Diaz, you guys. I just can’t.
Earlier today, Diaz’s (likely overpaid) attorney, Jonathan Tweedale, told MMAMania the following:
As a longtime fan of Diaz (his fighting style, at least), this “news” did not come as a shock to me, but was disappointing to hear nonetheless. Not because it means we won’t be seeing Diaz in the octagon anytime soon, but because this “I won’t play unless you pass me the ball,” retirement-as-a-bargaining-tool mentality represents the straw that has finally broke this camel’s back.
Look, I could set aside Diaz’s glaring mental deficiencies and overall jackassery back when he was laying waste to the Strikeforce welterweight division (or kicking Frank Shamrock’s ass…especially when he was kicking Frank Shamrock’s ass). When Diaz returned to the UFC after a five year absence, I was generally excited that we would have a new player at 170 lbs. Hell, when Diaz screwed himself out of a shot at St. Pierre, then dropped his next fight to Carlos Condit, then tested positive for marijuana metabolites and subsequently “retired” for the first time, I was still willing to hold onto the hope that Diaz vs. GSP would become a reality just so we could finally put all the debate to rest.
But then, it did happen, and let’s be honest, Diaz choked. You can say whatever you want about GSP deceiving us with his threats to unleash his “dark side” on Diaz, but at the end of the day, it was Diaz’s fight to win. He was the one who called GSP out, who needled and prodded the champ through whatever media outlet he could during his suspension, who chased Georges around a hotel in 2011 to pick a fight. He wanted this fight, he wanted it bad, and he even leapfrogged actual contenders in order to get it. However, at UFC 158, gone were the crisp boxing combinations that saw Diaz physically break the likes of Penn, Shamrock, Paul Daley, and K.J. Noons to name a few. Gone was his much talked about grappling game, his relentless aggression, etc. Diaz brought little more than apathy and listlessness to his shot at glory, and when it was all over, all he was left with were excuses. Terrible, damn-near incomprehensible excuses.
It was at this point — at least in my mind — that the mysterious, “fascinating” (as Dana White put it) facade that was Nick Diaz began to fade away, leaving behind a man who was more content to post conspiracy theories about “Canadian loopholes” than acknowledge the fact that he (or perhaps Cesar Gracie) is his own worst enemy.
And it’s a shame, because given the right training camp and a different mentality, Nick Diaz could be a champion. The problem is, I don’t think he really wants to be one. And the most frustrating thing of all is that nowadays, Diaz doesn’t seem like he even wants to earn the right to fight a champion — as if he should be able to fight whoever he chooses based on his credibility alone — hence his current hostage treatment of his own retirement. Diaz was given his shot at GSP, he choked, and of the over one million people who bought the first fight, how many of you would throw down another 50 dollars for the second? The same goes for a Diaz/Silva fight, which would only further our theory that fighters who unretire often look like a shell of their former selves upon doing so.
At just 29 years old, Diaz has already proven as much as he can in the sport of MMA — given his current “exception to the rule” attitude, at least. The fact that he will never become a UFC champion should not detract from what has been an incredibly entertaining, if often despairing career for the Stocktonian. But if Nick is not going to get in line like everyone else and fight his way back to the top, then perhaps it is time that he call it quits.
In short, the anti-bullshit superhero has quickly become its greatest villain. Or the bullshit superhero; your choice. In either case, I have officially stopped caring. How many of you are in the same boat, Potato Nation?