Thousands of screaming Hawaiian fans rained down boos, threw scores of garbage and let their disdain for Nick Diaz be known. Mixed martial art’s bad boy simply smiled and extended his own courtesy back to the fans, two double fisted middle fingers pointed high in the air.
Make no mistake: Nick Diaz will always speak his mind. Why? Because he simply does not care what others think.
“My job is to come in and whoop your fu**ing ass so I can get paid and take care of my family and take care of my business,” Diaz once said.
For those of you who don’t appreciate his candor, albeit poor choice of words, Diaz has a message for you too, “Nobody has class here, we’re cage fighters. We fight in a cage, throw elbows. All this classy stuff is sort of derived from us trying to get this sport out. They’ve done their job. That’s not my job to make this sport look like it’s not warfare…like it’s a tennis match, because it’s not!”
Gems like these are what make him one of the most polarizing figures in the sport.
Inappropriate? You bet ya.
But captivating? No question.
Love him or hate him, its characters like Diaz which make sports great. Think about it: for every hero there is a villain, for every good guy there is a bad guy. And in a sport founded on mutual respect and honor, Diaz embraces the opposite; his bad boy image.
He’s the guy fans love to hate and THAT ladies and gentleman, is what makes him a valued commodity.
On Saturday April 11, Diaz will square off against legendary Frank Shamrock in a televised Strikeforce event. Although no titles are up for grabs, this is a fight fans should be pleased about.
The bout pits two brash, trash talking showmen in the cage with a victory simply achieving bragging rights. While the fight holds no meaningful significance to either combatant’s career, this has all the makings of a classic back and forth battle. And we all know Diaz is a scrapper.
After a close decision loss to Joe Riggs back in 2006, the fighters were both taken to the hospital for observation. Diaz, who was attached to an IV, entered Riggs’ room and a brawl ensued.
At one point, it was rumored Diaz attempted to strangle Riggs with his IV chord! Let me reiterate; he tried to strangle him with his own IV chord!Now that is entertainment folks. That is some straight up soap-opera, 90210, OC type drama.
The point is, despite his unreasonable antics, Diaz fascinates audiences. His do-or-die, carefree attitude may rub some the wrong way, but it makes for entertaining fights and even better pre-fight build up. Furthermore, the fight will be a fine indicator as to how far Diaz has evolved thus far in his career.
Seemingly always on the cusp of elite fighter status, a win over a notable and respected fighter like Shamrock would solidify Diaz’s place in the upper echelon of competitors. In order to reach that next level, Diaz must find a way to defeat his bigger and stronger opponent.
Fighting the majority of his career as a welterweight at 170 lbs. and most recently at 160 in Elite XC, how Diaz will fare against an opponent who typically cuts weight just to make 185 remains to be seen.
But, Shamrock has never been a physically imposing fighter; rather he has used tact and guile to overcome physical deficiencies. Diaz is similar. He does not have the physical strength of most fighters, but with an awkward yet efficient boxing style and slick jiu-jitsu, he tends to frustrate his opponents.
In the weeks leading up to the bout, both fighters have engaged in a battle of wits, with both playing their usual mind games. The match itself should be no less calculating. It will be a game of chess, with each fighter attempting to place themselves in their most favorable position.
For Diaz, that would most likely be on top position, where he will attempt to sink in a submission. As for Shamrock, he is heavy handed and should be looking to keep the fight standing.
“I definitely don’t like Frank...If I fight you, I don’t like you,”said Diaz in the days leading up to the fight. “As soon as he signed the paper to fight me, he fu**ed up.”
Regardless of the outcome, Diaz will continue to be Diaz. He is not going to censor himself for anyone or anything. And that’s why we will continue to watch and see what he does next. Nick, I'll continue to do me, as long as you promise to continue doing you.