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UFC 158: Nick Diaz is his own Worst Enemy [Editorial]

UFC 143: Diaz v Condit - Press ConferenceUFC welterweight Nick Diaz was again absent at a scheduled appearance for the UFC 158 open workouts, with his coach citing the fact that the fighter was tired. The move drew anger from some media and had many believing “here we go again.” The move highlights the irony of Diaz’s complaints about receiving negative press and not getting the money he believes he deserves. MMAFrenzy takes a look at the conundrum Nick Diaz routinely creates for both himself and those around him.

There is no doubt that Nick Diaz is one of the most talented and exciting fighters in all of mixed martial arts. That said, the fighter is one of the most controversial figures in the UFC today due to his attitude and actions. The controversy has served as a double-edged sword for the Cesar Gracie protégé, as he has attracted one of the most dedicated fan bases in MMA but is shunned by some companies looking to endorse fighters. On top of this, Diaz seems to be offended that he is portrayed poorly in the media, or not enough, and that he does not get the money very few other fighters do.

When Diaz does make his media obligations, the guy is pure gold. Few fighters can manage to be so sincere with what they are saying like Diaz is, even while constantly contradicting himself. From a promoters perspective with Diaz, it is a clear case of “what you see, is what you get.” You know what you are dealing with when you bring Diaz in, so in some respects you have to expect it when he acts like he does. From a business perspective, however, Diaz cannot complain about his lack of big sponsors or negative coverage if he is not going to meet the obligations he, and his opponent, is  contractually obligated to do.

Fighting for the UFC is a job, and you have to treat it like one. While the lack of discipline and angry attitude may play well with a lot of fans, it is not always going to make companies want to invest in you. That said, it does not mean you cannot be yourself in interviews and still get paid very well. While Chael Sonnen’s schtick gets old fast for some, he is able to play it in a way that still pays big money because he goes above and beyond to fulfill his obligations. Diaz is a much more exciting fighter than Chael, and unlike Sonnen his personality is not an act at all, so there is potential for him to capitalize on that if he only would learn to play the game.

So why is it that Diaz continues to make these same judgement mistakes and apparently not learn from them? That answer is pretty simple, and it all comes down to who surrounds and advises him. Whenever Nick makes a mistake, his management and those around him go out of their way to redirect the blame from the fighter to anything but Diaz. Last year’s positive test at UFC 143 was a perfect example of listening to the wrong people

That is not to say there is not a reason for his decisions, and once or twice is certainly understandable, but the fact that Diaz has been involved in hospital fights, incidents at hotels, multiple missed appearances, etc. shows a real pattern. Diaz may be fiercely loyal to those around him, but at nearly 30 years-old, there are some changes needed if he ever wants to get what he says he wants.

Diaz has a great chance at winning the title this weekend in Montreal, but unless the fighter starts taking responsibility that excitement may not be around very long. UFC president Dana White is already irked by the fighter’s actions this week and is threatening a “come to Jesus” meeting between the two at some point, however it is all a waste of time if Nick does not take it heart. There may be more riding on this fight if Diaz were to lose this weekend against GSP, as the fighter has placed himself in a precarious position where he makes a great deal of money but is not living up to his contract.

Either way the fight turns out at UFC 158, Diaz needs to realize there is a lot more than fighting to being in the UFC.

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