Nick Diaz Not Showing Up Isn't Cute or Endearing, It's Unprofessional
Another fight week. Another no-show from Nick Diaz.
In case you missed it, Diaz failed to show up (per MMAJunkie) for Wednesday's UFC 158 open workouts at the Complexe Desjardins in Montreal. The media showed up. The fans showed up. Every other fighter on the card who was scheduled to appear—which included Georges St-Pierre, Jake Ellenberger, Johny Hendricks, Carlos Condit, Patrick Cote and Nate Marquardt—showed up.
But not Diaz.
Nope, he just couldn't be bothered to do what every single other fighter in this sport does, which is to maintain some semblance of professionalism.
Brock Lesnar was the most difficult guy I've ever dealt with in my years of covering mixed martial arts. From a journalistic standpoint, you knew he hated you and didn't want to talk to you.
And yet Lesnar, a much bigger star than just about anyone else in mixed martial arts, still showed up to press conferences and open workouts, simply because the UFC paid him to show up to these things and help promote fights.
This is because Lesnar was a professional and Diaz is not.
Look, I get it. Nick's refusal to play by the rules is what endears him to his fans. And I have to admit, there's a little part of me that absolutely respects Diaz for playing by his own rules and doing his own thing even when it has caused him to lose plenty of money in the past.
Remember, we wouldn't even be here now if Diaz hadn't decided to skip media obligations over a year ago, back when this fight was scheduled the first time around.
However, there comes a point when it's no longer cute or endearing or "awesome," and Diaz has reached that point. It's not fair that St-Pierre, a huge star in Montreal—who would no doubt love to be sitting at home instead of parading in front of the fans and the media, repeatedly answering the same questions—was required to show up, while Diaz felt it was fine for him to just stay in his Sheraton hotel room.
The UFC potentially faces a nightmare situation on Saturday night, at least from a public relations standpoint. There isn't much chance of it happening, but Diaz could actually become the welterweight champion. And then, instead of trying to get him to show up and do press or meet the fans once or twice a year, the UFC will have to be on Diaz Alert up to three times a year.
I can tell you firsthand that folks in the UFC are dreading that idea. And I can't blame them one bit.
Before we get to any of that, though, we have to get past Thursday's pre-fight press conference. Will Diaz act like a professional and show up? I'd like to think he will, but where Nick is concerned, I've learned not to expect anything remotely resembling adult behavior.
Neither has Dana White, apparently.
"I'm excited for the press conference, and I'm definitely excited for the weigh-ins because you never know what you're going to get," White told Jim Rome on Wednesday. "Well, let me tell you what, if he does not show up tomorrow for the press conference, it is not going to be good. I don't know what I'll say or what I'm going to do, but I'll tell you what—it will not be good."
I love watching Diaz fight. I'll never get tired of seeing him in the cage, walking forward with his hands in the air, talking trash to his opponent the entire time. He's a breath of fresh air when he's fighting.
But I'm more than tired of his behavior when it comes to everything else that revolves around fighting. I'm tired of the people around him who make constant excuses for Diaz, saying, "that's just Nick"—as if that can explain away everything or anything at all.
More than anything else, I'm tired of events like Wednesday's no-show surprising me. Because they shouldn't. I should never expect Diaz to do what everyone else is expected to do, because it's clear that he thinks he's special and the rules don't apply to him.
And maybe they don't. But they should.
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