It's no secret that I love the Diaz brothers. Maybe it's because I come from a place as far from Stockton, California as you could possibly imagine? Maybe it's because my brother and I never once engaged in a sai fight? Maybe it's because I'd be plenty satisfied driving a Honda?
Perhaps it's these differences that make the Diazes so compelling. I once called Nick the greatest man in the world.
And Nate? He may be even better than his older brother.
I don't promise a single scrap of unbiased commentary in the following. I'm down with the Diazes and make no apologies for their anti-social tendencies. In fact, it's some of the controversial moments that follow that make me such an unabashed fan of both brothers.
Click on for some unmitigated mayhem.
A gogoplata is a ridonculous move. It involves lying on your back, slipping your foot under the other guy's chin and then pulling down with both hands, choking your opponent by yanking his throat into your leg.
It's crazy. Both as an idea and as a finishing technique against a world-class foe.
But crazy has always defined Nick Diaz. Just the idea that Diaz could compete against Japan's top lightweight, Takanori Gomi, was already crazy.
That he could outslug him? Crazy.
Submit him? Crazy.
Submit him with a freaking gogoplata? Inconceivable.
It was the first time MMA fans learned an important lesson—when it comes to Nick Diaz, nothing is impossible. That was beat into our heads when the Nevada Athletic Commission announced post-fight that Diaz had done all of the above while potentially high on marijuana.
Say it along with me: craaaaazy.
Donald Cerrone and Nate Diaz aren't likely to exchange Christmas cards this year. The two men had three interactions on or around UFC 141, none of which were particularly pleasant for the "Cowboy."
First, there were Cerrone's pre-event attempts to make nice with his future foes. He found out, the hard way, that Diaz don't play that. He wants his opponent to be his enemy and wasn't about to yuck it up with a man he would soon confront in the cage. Cerrone broke it down for the media before the fight:
Really the only personal interaction I've had with Nate is at the open workouts prior to this fight. I walk over to be like ‘hey man, what's going on,' shake his hand.
He slaps my hand away. Calls me a punk-ass. Walks off.
Things took a turn for the worse at the press conference. No one is quite sure why, but Diaz took great exception to Cerrone's trademark cowboy hat. It had to go, along with Diaz's composure and any sense of proper decorum.
Worst of all, of course, was the actual fight. Diaz beat Cerrone from pillar to post, adding literal injury to insult. Fighting a Diaz must be the absolute worst.
K.J. Noons had beaten Nick Diaz fair and square, something Diaz didn't care for. He wanted a rematch in the worst way and, when Noons didn't immediately acquiesce, attempted to take matters into his own hands.
Diaz hit the cage to confront Noons after the fight, shooting the double bird, talking trash and coining a phrase that would go down in the annals. Not just a catchphrase—a bonafide Internet meme was born that night when Diaz uttered these immortal words.
"Don't be scared, homie."
Poor Bill Goldberg was caught in the middle as a mini-melee broke lose, the Diaz brothers against the father-son Noons boys. The ex-wrestler should have been comfortable in the middle of a tag team match but seem relieved when the Diazes were forced from the cage, continuing their taunts all the way up the ramp to the back.
Sanchez had to prove himself to Diaz
Nick Diaz didn't buy The Ultimate Fighter hype and wasn't afraid to let everyone know. He didn't think guys like Diego Sanchez had earned their place on the big show and let them know. Publicly. Repeatedly.
When the two were booked in a fight, the trash talk escalated to the physical. Before the fight, according to onlookers, Diaz threw a shoe at the TUF champion.
Sure, Sanchez got the last laugh with a win inside the Octagon. But who throws a shoe? Honestly?
"The thing with Karo, the way he acts around people, he's not very respectful," Nate Diaz told The Ultimate Fighter cameras. "..like he's talking down on me...get off my nuts bro. I'm cool. You don't have to talk down on me."
Suffice to say, when Nate Diaz is being the calm voice of reason, things are getting pretty wild.
Former UFC star Karo Parisyan's visit to the set of The Ultimate Fighter was the most explosive in the short history of the seminal MMA reality show, mostly on account of what can only be described as an overdose of "bro syndrome." It was a certified "bro off."
Bless Nate Diaz. He tried to keep his head. But there is only so much noogie and play slap action a man can take. Especially when that man's last name is Diaz.
"Have some respect," Parisyan said at one point. "Do you know who I am?"
Eventually, Diaz had his mean mug on and was pacing back and forth like a wild beast. Had there been a fistfight, it would have been the greatest thing in the history, not just of television, but of the world. The whole world.
"I'm going to pop him if he gets near me," Diaz said to no one in particular. "How about that? I'm not trying to have no conversation with that dude. I don't even like him, bro."
Don't you hate it when cooler heads prevail? That's the worst. Instead of throwing down, Parisyan eventually just left. But he left his mark on TUF history; that much is certain.
"Learn how to act," Diaz said in summary. "You don't come up grabbing people. Everybody knows that...F@ck that guy."
A lot of fighters shake hands, hug it out and become lifelong pals with the men they compete against in the cage. Nick Diaz is not one of those fighters.
After his decision loss to Joe Riggs at UFC 57, a fight many in the audience thought Diaz won, an angry Nick wanted one more round. He got it—at the hospital after the fight.
Riggs had an IV in his arm when Diaz stormed in to attack him after the two men exchanged trash talk. As the two men scrambled for an advantage in the clinch, blood flew around the room like it was a horror movie scene. Riggs told MMA Weekly he was shocked things got physical:
I was just standing around talking sh#t to him. He was like, 'That's it,' and comes out of his room. I had my hands down. He starts coming up to me. I just never in a million years thought he'd throw a punch. He threw a right hook and hit me right in the chin. I mean it hit me right on the button. I seriously can't say that I was knocked out, but I kind of went down to a knee.
Riggs learned an important lesson that night about the Diaz ethos. Any time, anywhere. Even in a hospital, with gown on. Any night is a good night for fighting.
The book on the Diaz boys is that wrestling is their Kryptonite. Whether true or not, the consensus seems to be that grounding them will eliminate their edge striking, allowing a fighter to relax from their relentless boxing attack.
Taking a Diaz to the mat, however, is a dangerous game. If you're Rory MacDonald, it's a gamble that pays off. If you're Kurt Pellegrino? You just entered a world of hurt.
Pellegrino got the highlight slam he wanted against Diaz in their 2008 bout, but it never got the chance to impress the judges. Instead, Diaz locked in a fight ending triangle.
None of that was controversial.
What did irk traditionalists and the humorless was Diaz's in-fight celebration. Before his opponent had even tapped, Nate was mugging for the cameras, celebrating, flexing his muscles, even shooting the bird.
Some hated it. Others laughed until they nearly peed themselves. I'll let you guess where I fell on the spectrum.
Oh, Nick Diaz. What are we going to do with you?
Diaz is one of our sport's true treasures. He's an animal in the cage, unintentionally hilarious out of it and one of the best action fighters in MMA history.
He also has serious trouble navigating his way through the Byzantine fight game. His bout with Carlos Condit, for example, was a disaster on every level.
He lost a decision.
He petulantly retired in the cage after the bout, an announcement that exactly zero people found credible.
And after the fight? Tested positive for marijuana metabolites.
Is it just another piece of the Diaz myth, part of his legacy, his entry into the "Tyson Zone?" Yes. But more importantly for his fans, it's a year without Diaz in the cage. And that, friends, is a travesty.
There's no gentle way to say this—Nick Diaz pretty much flipped out before his scheduled bout with Georges St-Pierre at UFC 137. After the fighter missed multiple press conferences and went AWOL, UFC president Dana White pulled the plug on Diaz's title fight.
In a press conference that shocked the MMA world, White all but fired Diaz in front of the assembled media:
I'd had my reservations about Nick Diaz for a long time. You've heard me use the term 'play the game.' All I asked him for was this much. When he signed, I said, 'Let me tell you what kid, add up all the purses of you career, this will be biggest fight of your life.' You have the opportunity to fight GSP and win the welterweight title. But I need you to do certain things.
...He was going to make life-changing money for this fight. And maybe the thing is with Nick Diaz, maybe he did crack under the pressure. Maybe he folded under the spotlight.
It's the most famous melee in MMA history, a scrap that escalated quickly from mere words into legitimate violence. Then Strikeforce middleweight contender Jason "Mayhem" Miller got more than he bargained for when he got into the cage to challenge Jake Shields after his win over the legendary Dan Henderson.
Soon, fists were flying, feet were stomping and a live audience on CBS found themselves watching MMA on the network for the final time.
As announcer Gus Johnson reminded us all, these things happen in MMA. And when they do? There's usually a Diaz around somewhere. Nick and Nate were front and center in the middle of it all, offended that Miller would dare interrupt Shields' special moment. It remains not just the most controversial mark on the Diaz's permanent records, but also the most controversial moment the sport has produced in its nearly 20-year history.