MENU
#Conor McGregor #UFC 211 #Nate Diaz #Bellator 179 #Rory MacDonald #Jewels #Paul Daley #Daniel Cormier #Cris Cyborg #UFC 202 #Jon Jones


nick-diaz-31.jpg(This story appeared in today’s edition of USA TODAY.)

People say a lot of things about Nick Diaz.

Diaz is a thug and a pothead. Diaz is the last honest and genuine fighter in a world full of made-for-TV phonies. Maybe it’s all true; maybe not.

On a news media call last week, his opponent in UFC 158 (Saturday, 10 p.m. ET, pay-per-view), welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre (23-2 MMA, 17-2 UFC), called Diaz an “uneducated fool.” On the same call, Diaz (26-8 MMA, 7-5 UFC) likened himself to a “superhero coming in with the anti-bulls—.”

UFC President Dana White has never disputed Diaz’s talent as a fighter. But after the UFC welterweight’s first stint with the organization ended in 2006, White wondered aloud whether the scrappy kid from Stockton, Calif., would ever learn to “play the game,” even a little bit.

“You have to follow certain rules and guidelines,” White said in 2010. “The last time Nick Diaz was in the UFC, he got into a fistfight at the hospital with the guy he fought (in UFC 57). You can’t do that kind of stuff.”

But Diaz did. It’s part of his legend, how he started a brawl in a hospital hallway with Joe Riggs, whom he had lost to in three rounds hours earlier.

That’s one of many stories. There’s also the time he threw a shoe at an opponent backstage. Or the time Diaz and his teammates jumped a fellow fighter on live network TV.

The fans who love Diaz can’t get enough of these stories.

The people who are responsible for trying to corral him could stand a little less excitement.

“It used to drive me absolutely crazy,” says Diaz’s manager and longtime trainer, Cesar Gracie. “Like, I couldn’t sleep at night.”

When Diaz would fail to show up for another news conference or video shoot, Gracie’s phone would go off.

When Diaz failed postfight drug tests because of his frequent and unapologetic marijuana use, Gracie had to help put out the fires.

Just getting his client to show up at the airport when the UFC booked him on a flight could seem like an insurmountable challenge.

The last time Diaz was slated to fight for St-Pierre’s title, he blew off one too many news media responsibilities and was pulled from the bout.

This time, a crisis was averted when he skipped Wednesday’s open workouts but managed to make Thursday’s news conference. Still, that constant stress is the kind of thing that drives managers such as Gracie crazy.

“I finally learned that I really don’t have that much control over it,” says Gracie, who began training Diaz when he was a 16-year-old kid who had wandered into one of Gracie’s jiu-jitsu gyms in Lodi, Calif. “With Nick, I don’t think he’s trying to disrespect anybody or be unprofessional. I think he’s just uncomfortable with media and with people trying to delve into his personal life or make him open up. … He hasn’t learned how to relate that way.”

According to those in Diaz’s inner circle, that’s the main difference between the man they know and the character they see portrayed in UFC ads and MMA news stories.

“He gets a bad rap, but he’s one of the most loyal friends I have,” says longtime training partner and fellow UFC welterweight Jake Shields.

To his younger brother, Nate, also a UFC fighter, he’s been part sibling and part father figure, Gracie says.

“If Nick hadn’t been there, things could have been a lot different for Nate,” Gracie says. “There weren’t a lot of opportunities for them to go to school, to college. There were financial issues and family issues. Fighting was really the best thing that could have happened for both of them.”

Diaz is a born fighter. Even his detractors agree on that.

But as training partner and UFC lightweight Gilbert Melendez puts it, “Some of the things that come with being a professional fighter, being an entertainer and doing media and all that, that’s not him.”

Maybe that’s why it seems, at times, as if Diaz despises the sport that pays his bills. It’s not the training that bothers him, his friends all say. He’s known for marathon sessions in the gym and for mixing in the occasional triathlon between fights.

“I think he’s probably the most in shape athlete there is in MMA,” Melendez says. “He’s just a machine, and he’ll outwork you. If every fight were to the death, Nick Diaz would be undefeated.”

But when it comes to dealing with the media, potential sponsors or even his UFC employers, Diaz “doesn’t like getting bossed around,” Shields says. “That’s why he fights. He wants to do what he wants to do.”

Sometimes that results in headaches for those around him; other times it costs Diaz a lot of money and crucial career opportunities. It’s what he brings inside the cage that makes so many people willing to put up with so much outside of it.

If Diaz brings it again Saturday, the fighter who can’t or won’t play the game could leave Montreal as the UFC’s welterweight champion.

Then the game might have to adjust to him.

For more on UFC 158, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC® debuts in Edmonton in September

  • 27 days ago
  • 1 views

UFC® announced today that it will stage its first-ever event in Edmonton at Rogers Place on Saturday, September 9. Edmonton now becomes the 10th Canadian city to host a UFC card. UFC® 216 marks the U read news >>

Longtime UFC veteran Nik Lentz announces departure from American Top Team, figuring out future plans

  • 21 days ago
  • 5 views

Nik Lentz today announced he’s no longer a part of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla., ending a five-year relationship with the famed MMA training center.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with UFC welterweight Jake Ellenberger

  • 23 days ago
  • 2 views

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guest Jake Ellenberger.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Reminder: 'Countdown to UFC 211: Miocic vs. Dos Santos 2' debuts today on FS1

  • 17 days ago
  • 61 views

As a reminder, the UFC’s traditional pre-event show returns today with the debut of “Countdown to UFC 211: Miocic vs. Dos Santos 2” on FS1.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Dana White Says Zuffa Turned Down $5 Billion for the UFC | FIGHTLAND

  • 28 days ago
  • 4 views

Photo by ?Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports? Last year when Zuffa, LLC sold the UFC to Hollywood mega-talent agency WME|IMG for $4 billion—$3,998,000,000 more than Zuffa had paid for it just 15 years earli read news >>

Vitor Belfort joins Montreal's Tristar Gym ahead of final octagon bout at UFC 212

  • 16 days ago
  • 19 views

Vitor Belfort is doing things a little bit differently ahead of what he’s decided will be the final fight of his UFC career next month at UFC 212.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC 211: Miocic vs Dos Santos 2 Fantasy Cheat Sheet

  • 16 days ago
  • 3 views

In today's fantasy preview, we'll break down all the big fights in Saturday night's UFC 211: Miocic vs Dos Santos 2 and tell you who has the edge. read news >>

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with UFC 211's Junior Dos Santos, Zach Makovsky

  • 15 days ago
  • 2 views

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Junior Dos Santos and Zach Makovsky.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Today's JDS knows his best skill: a punch to the face

  • 15 days ago
  • 1 views

As he prepares for his UFC 211 rematch with Stipe Miocic this Saturday in Dallas, former heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos has no problem revealing the game plan that he hopes will allow him to read news >>

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie rankings, May 9: Which division is due for a shakeup at UFC 211?

  • 14 days ago
  • 3 views

Take a look at this week rankings to see what’s at stake ahead of a stacked UFC 211 that features two title bouts and a boat load of top-10 fighters.Filed under: AXS TV Fights, Bellator, MMA Rankings read news >>