“Come on, Nick. Tell us how you *really* feel.” (Video: ZombieProphet)
Though he fought in a cage only ten yards wide, Nick Diaz must have felt like he was fighting on a football field last night. For five rounds he stalked Carlos Condit but was unable able to pin him in any of the Octagon’s eight corners. In true Stockton fashion, he never stopped pressing forward and was always the aggressor, but did he exhibit ‘Octagon Control’? As we generally define the term, yes. As it’s actually defined, no. Diaz didn’t want to keep circling and chasing Condit; he wanted to trap him against the cage and unload merciless combinations–basically, to fight him in a phone booth. The reason he didn’t was because Condit executed his game plan perfectly and dictated the flow of the fight. Even if that wasn’t the case and Diaz was in full control of the bout, let’s not start pretending that we love nothing more than a fight full of ‘Octagon Control’. As fans we value effective striking and grappling above position and pace. So too should the judges.
Some of you will undoubtedly feel that you can’t win a fight moving backwards. You may be right, but there are a host of other things that you can do in retreat. You can set a record for leg kicks landed in a UFC fight (not that those count, right?). You can out-strike your opponent in both total strikes and significant strikes by a 30% margin. You can land more power shots to the head.
There’s a good reason last night’s main event is so controversial—it was a damn close fight. Despite what I’ve written, I’m not actually here to convince you that Condit deserves the interim belt or his shiny new hog. If you think that Diaz won the fight, I won’t tell you that you’re wrong (again, stats never tell the whole tale, and it was a really close fight). That being said, let’s not confuse “The Natural Born Killer” with Kaleb Starnes. Condit picked his shots wisely and got the hell out of dodge. It wasn’t the balls-to-the-wall throwdown I’d hoped for, but it was an entertaining fight.
For the time being at least, Diaz says he’s had enough. He may be as tough and as talented as they come, but he’s only happy fighting his kind of fight. His bouts would be vastly more entertaining if everyone limited their offense and defense to match his strengths, but I don’t see that happening in the upper-tiers of the division. His distaste for wrestling, specifically lay and pray, is understandable, but to respond to a flashy Condit elbow with, “We’re throwing spinning shit now?” makes me think that he’ll never adjust his game to deal with those who won’t play it. If he sticks around, we can expect plenty more wars and plenty more victories, but his record will be spotted with losses he refuses to accept.
Diaz is one of the most entertaining fighters out there and I pray he doesn’t call it quits, but he’s clearly had his fill of this sport. In no uncertain words, the Stockton native expressed his disillusion with MMA’s scoring system and proclaimed that he doesn’t “need this shit.”
Straight forward, to the point, and no punches pulled. That’s Nick Diaz.