Sometimes it still amazes me that I’m a Nick Diaz fan. A lot of people still hate him, loathe him even, and it’s not difficult to see why. For the longest time, I couldn’t stand Nick Diaz either. I hated him for his cockiness, his brash attitude, for the way he disrespected his opponents both inside and out of the cage, for the way he acted as if nothing was ever good enough no matter how much he was getting paid or how many opportunities he was being given… the list goes on and on. But yet the fact remains: I am a Nick Diaz fan. I’ll go one further: I’m at the front of the bandwagon. Why is that? With Nick Diaz becoming an even bigger star thanks to hisreturn and the fact that he’ll be facing soon, I feel the time is right to make my stand. So here it is: this is why I’m a Nick Diaz fan.
Let me start off by addressing both the cynics and those that are tired of all the Nick Diaz fans vs. haters arguments: I will not deny that Nick Diaz both does stupid things and says stupid things. I do not put Nick Diaz on a pedestal, I will not defend his actions other than to say “it’s Nick being Nick”. That’s something I think all Nick Diaz fans need to come to terms with, if I may be so bold. Because I think that if you take Nick Diaz as he is and don’t blindly rush in to defend his next controversial action or interview, you’re better able to understand both him and why you’re a fan of him.
I want to address this as well before getting to my core argument: Nick Diaz is one hell of a fighter. Nick Diaz doesn’t have boring fights. Nick Diaz will fight his opponents where they’re best at simply to prove that he can. Inside of the cage, Nick Diaz is one of the best fighters in the world. There’s simply no way to deny that anymore.
Taken purely on his merits inside of the cage, it’s easy to see why Nick Diaz has a following. But to truly understand why Diaz has such a massive following, you have to understand that the thing most people hate about him is also the thing so many people love about him.
The thing I’m talking about is simple: Nick Diaz has no “off” switch. He has no filter. That’s increasingly rare not only in MMA, but in professional sports as a whole. Some people see that as a good thing, and I can certainly see their point: in MMA’s constant quest for widespread acceptance, sometimes we need guys that wear suits, smile their pretty smiles at the camera, and answer in short, respectable sound bites that are as politically correct as they come.
And then you have Nick Diaz, who flips you the bird and calls a press conference a beauty pageant and insinuates that if a reporter came to his neighborhood he’d get slapped.
But none of that is a joke to Nick Diaz. He’s not acting, he’s not playing a character. If Nick Diaz thinks you’re not worthy of his respect, he’ll let you know it. If he thinks the situation he is in sucks and could be better, he’ll let you know it. If he thinks he’s the most under-paid and over-trained fighter in the business, he’ll let you know it. But it’s not because he doesn’t care about what he says, and it’s not because he doesn’t understand that what he says is controversial and could get him into a lot of trouble.
Why we like Nike Diaz? Read the conclusion on the next jump…