(“…and another thing, man, what’s up with these mothaf*ckin Grape Nuts, y’know, is it a grape, is it a nut, I don’t even know what the f*ck I’m eating homie, but it’s whatever.”)
By Trent Reinsmith
UFC president Dana White once claimed that lightweight fighter Nate Diaz “doesn’t move the needle” with fight fans. Well, heading into his fight on Saturday night against Rafael dos Anjos, Diaz has buried the needle in the red. And you know what? I’m kind of digging it…a lot.
The 29-year-old Stockton, California-based fighter has pulled exactly zero punches leading into the co-main event of UFC on Fox 13. On December 2nd, in the wake of the announcement that the UFC had signed a uniform deal with Reebok, Diaz tweeted his uncensored feelings on the deal; he later said he was hacked, but didn’t bother to delete the tweet in question. Diaz followed that by missing his December 10th scheduled open workout for the UFC on Fox 13 show, claiming he “kind of slept in.” Most recently he blasted both recent UFC signee CM Punk and the UFC for signing the former WWE champion. Diaz’s exact words, “f-ck him, f-ck the whole situation.”
At first blush it seems as if Diaz is slowly pulling a knife across his own throat with these types of comments, but if you dig a little deeper, Diaz may actually be a lot more cunning than he is crazy.
Everyone knows White’s claim that Diaz doesn’t move the needle was total nonsense. Hell, the UFC went and booked Diaz in the co-main event of a Fox event after he sat out for more than a year, so even the people who work for White know that claim was a huge stretch. Diaz also knows that statement was made by White to attempt to put the fighter in check. As Diaz told me when I interviewed him for Fight! Magazine, “I think the moving the needle thing they were saying, and the way they were trying to downplay me was just a ridiculous statement.” Diaz followed that with what now seems like some foreshadowing, “I think that just upped the bar, and now I’m going to move the needle even more.”
Diaz’s recent comments and actions have done just what he promised – generated even more attention around him as a personality and a product. He’s taken his normal rebel stance and cranked it up into overdrive. He’s practically jutting his chin out and waving the UFC in with arms outstretched, asking the promotion to do their worst while knowing full well they can’t do anything but take what he is doling out.