Sporting Rock Stars: Nick Diaz

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Nick Diaz is well known in the world or mixed martial arts (MMA) and is a particularly entertaining figure within the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Diaz holds a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Cesar Gracie, a member of the Gracie family, the founding fathers of the UFC, and the most recognisable name in jiu-jitsu. He is a former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion, former WEC Welterweight Champion, and a former IFC Welterweight Champion; a pretty impressive record for a thirty year old that started out as a boxer. Although a renowned trash talker, with controversy and attention seeming to follow his every move, Diaz has the skills to back it up, and that is why he is this week’s sporting rock star.

Born in Stockton, California, the mixed martial artist had a career spanning 11 years since his first professional fight in 2001 just after his 18th birthday. It didn’t take him long to progress in the sport, however, becoming IFC Welterweight Champion in 2002 after his second professional fight. His younger brother, Nate, is also a professional mixed martial artist, ranked 6th in the official UFC lightweight rankings. Athleticism clearly runs in the family. Both siblings have taken part in professional triathlons, and Nick is rumoured to complete a triathlon every weekend for fun. Supreme fitness and natural talent are two reasons why the brothers are both admired and envied when it comes to MMA.

Nick’s way with words has attracted attention throughout his prolific career, and his most infamous quotes prove very useful in demonstrating why he is such a controversial figure, and successful trash talker.

First up, Diaz never hides his passion for the use of marijuana, and regularly defends it publicly. The fighter can be found smoking (what looks like weed) on YouTube during an outing on his bike, and has tested positive for the drug after a visit to the octagon during a professional fight!

“For the record, right now, I think someone needed to come out and say it: I think smoking pot is good for mixed martial artists. It’s a new day and age, this it, uh, the year… f*** year is it? I don’t know, because I’ve been training and smoking pot like I should, instead of paying attention to other bulls***, which I don’t do”

When asked by a reporter whether his use of marijuana had affected his fighting, Diaz replied: “Actually, on the contrary, my fight career has gotten in the way of my marijuana smoking”.

The press and media often have a tough time when trying to get an interview with Diaz, due both to his well known dislike of public attention, as well as his more than frequent use of expletives in any situation:

“See if people are gonna hate just cause I say the word mother*****, then f*** them, I don’t have time to worry about marketing and s***. In my last fight my hair looked like s*** cause all I did was train…”

When pushed by a reporter to comment on potential future fights, Nick replied: “I feel that you instigate fights quite a bit… I mean that’s your job but, where I come from, people like that get slapped”.

His disregard for what people think of him is well known too. His ‘do what I want’ attitude, however, has gained him as many fans as it has lost him:

“If people can’t handle watching me or they can’t handle the intensity of my life or they can’t handle me cussing saying f*** this and f***, then you know, I think people really need to become a little more mature, kinda grow up a little bit…”

Nick can be respectful to some though, but mainly towards those that he admires and his fellow Stockton ‘homies’:

“If you’re not on my team, then F*** YOU, cause if you’re not with us, then you’re against us”

Perhaps the most famous words to leave the lips of Diaz were spoken following a defeat to KJ Noons in 2007. Noons asked the crowd whether Diaz deserved a rematch, to which his hometown posse of Hawaiians booed. This prompted Diaz to utter the now immortal words:

“Don’t be scared homie!”

(YouTube it)

The ring immediately broke into a brawl, and the Diaz brothers left displaying their trademark middle fingers to the crowd. The brothers were also involved in the infamous ‘Nashville Brawl’ with Mayhem Miller, both receiving fines.

Nick’s antics outside the octagon only distract from what was an amazing martial arts career. He retired after a decision loss to Carlos Condit at UFC 143 in February 2012, and then returned to fight Georges St-Pierre at UFC 158 in 2013. After losing this battle, he hung up his gloves for real and has not since returned to the octagon after many attempts at asking. His latest activity in the world of mixed martial arts was to launch his own promotion called WAR MMA. The first event took place on June 22, 2013 in Stockton, California, of all places.

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