If Georges St-Pierre wrestles his way to victory at UFC 158, Nick Diaz fans will set the Internet world aflame like they did after UFC 143.
"Nick Diaz won rounds, one, two and five" was the ubiquitous war cry shouted by Diaz fans after the Stockton brawler's decision loss to Carlos Condit.
This shout appeared on comments sections across the Internet—from YouTube, to SB Nation, to Bleacher Report. In fact, long-time Bleacher Report readers might remember a commenter who posted "Diaz won rounds one, two and five" on every single MMA article on Bleacher Report, even the ones that didn't involve Nick Diaz!
Diaz's fans were that incensed over the loss and that passionate about the 209's most notable fighter.
Now, slightly over a year later, Diaz is matched up against UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. Internet comment sections are not ready for the deluge of hate and the sea of caps lock comments that'll be present if Diaz comes up short against St-Pierre—and a St-Pierre victory is the likeliest of outcomes.
St-Pierre won't be able to finish Diaz. The champ hasn't truly finished a fight since 2008 (while his 2009 fight against B.J. Penn is listed as a TKO, Penn quit in his corner—GSP didn't actually finish him with strikes or a submission). Diaz hasn't been finished in over a decade (not counting his loss via cut to K.J. Noons in 2007).
Thus, the more probable ending is a less-than-exciting St-Pierre unanimous decision victory. The Canadian will use his superior strength and wrestling abilities to stymie and frustrate Diaz for 25 minutes.
A tidal wave of bile will hit the Internet as soon as the decision is announced. Diaz fans will furiously type away at their keyboards. They'll claim that judging in MMA needs an overhaul and that the unified rules are too conducive to "boring" fights. The Unified Rules of MMA are in desperate need of reform, they'll say.
They'll be right.
Nick Diaz once went on a lengthy rant about his thoughts on the unified rules.
I understand what it feels like to be held down for three rounds. This guy is avoiding the fight, and he wins the fight. The guy who doesn't fight gets to win. On account of these rules and scoring criteria that we've developed—We used to have a whole other organization called Pride with different rules and I think it worked out way more for exciting fights. You get to see a lot more technical aspects come out in the fight. You get to see a guy get yellow-carded if he holds a guy so it forces him to punch the guy...I feel that [Pride rules] favor the more technical boxer and martial artist. All this UFC and the cage-fighting now a days—It's always been geared towards the wrestler...I can go out there and win on damage but lose the fight.
Diaz touched on the issue again at the UFC 158 conference call:
Everybody wants to be like GSP and overcome the technical aspect by being stronger and more explosive, and beating you to the punch in the scoring for five minutes. That’s not really what martial arts is about. This is MMA, and that’s what fans want to see. People want to see real skill level, real boxing and real jiu-jitsu mixed up. They don’t just want to see five minutes of holding.”
While it takes a tremendous amount of cardiovascular conditioning, physical strength and a mastery of MMA wrestling to neutralize opponents the way St-Pierre does, it ruins the spirit of the UFC and of MMA itself.
The UFC was founded with one goal: Find out which fighting style would prevail over the others in a no holds barred fight ("Gracie" Jiu-Jitsu was fated to win, of course, but that's another story).
Over time, the sport has become less "barbaric" with the inclusion of numerous rules, many of which were necessary and important. Unfortunately, some of the rules are arbitrary and conflict with the UFC's "as real as it gets" motto.
The current rule system makes point-seeking too easy. Getting a takedown or two each round and then stalling until the bell is an easy strategy for victory.
The current rule system lets fighters put one finger on the ground and, in doing so, earn immunity from knees to the head because they're a "grounded opponent." This rule is insane. Putting a finger on the ground is not a proper defense for a knee to the head in a real fight.
The current rule system needs to change.
The Unified Rules of MMA turn fights into matches. The former is visceral, with one man trying to incapacitate the other by any means necessary. The latter is competitive, with one man simply trying to out-point the other rather than bash his head in and torque his limbs.
The post-fight clamoring of the Diaz fans will be dismissed "butthurt" sour grapes, but the seed of their for-now-hypothetical complaints will be true—the sport and the meta-gaming around it have outgrown the rules and this is a massive problem that needs to be solved.