BJ Penn vs. Nick Diaz Heats Up at Weigh-Ins: Was This Mental Warfare?

Darren WongSenior Analyst IOctober 29, 2011

Even if you've seen Nick Diaz mean-mugging and mouthing off at weigh-ins before, you probably didn't expect him to get quite so fierce against Penn, who he's spoken extremely highly of in the past.

What do we make of this new intensity?

First of all, THANK GOD, because this rivalry was getting too chummy for my liking.

Diaz was spending far too much time looking morose and subdued, talking about not wanting to fight an idol, a stablemate (through Ralph Gracie), a former training partner and (former?) friend.

Penn reciprocated much of that vibe, admitting that Diaz embodies Penn's own "just scrap" philosophy.

The closest thing to bitterness or anger was Penn's calling out of Diaz's trainer Cesar Gracie. Diaz is very protective of his camp, but was that enough to set him off? Or was it something else?

Here are some of my theories, some less serious than others:

Theory 1: Nick Diaz heard that Penn was "badmouthing" Cesar Gracie.

Theory 2: The effect of marijuana withdrawal is making Diaz cranky.

Theory 3: Diaz and Penn are trying extra hard to get intense about fighting when their hearts aren't really in it.

Theory 4: Diaz and Penn are trying to get into each other's heads.

Theory 5: Super-mean-mugging is an instinctive reaction when you're staring at somebody you have to fight only inches away.

Theory 6: This whole incident was planned by the UFC in order to drum up interest in a fight that just seemed too respectful up to this point.

My personal take is that Penn and Diaz are just putting on a brave face to hide their true feelings about this fight.

What do you think?