Boxing/MMA

MMA Analysis: Making Sense of Nick Diaz

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Nick Diaz is a unique fighter in that he typically fails to act and behave in the manner we have grown accustomed to in our favorite top-tier fighters.  Devoid of WWE hype theatrics, or canned sponsor-pleasing vanilla statements, Diaz is all things real and genuine.  This in the overly-political fight game often comes as a detriment to a fighter’s career.  Still, there is something inherently refreshing in Diaz’, “I don’t give a f**k,” mentality. 

This is why when reports initially circulated last month that Diaz was seriously going to enter into a professional boxing match against former super middleweight champion Jeff Lacey the MMA world took notice.  While some saw it as a ploy to force the UFC to give Diaz a high profile, high paying fight, the “Diaz Factor” was also strongly considered in that the Stockton, CA native may just be crazy enough to try and tackle a professional former boxing champion in a boxing match.  Hell, even Lacy seemed eager to consummate the fight and why shouldn’t he have been? 

Despite Diaz’s success in the cage with his hands, he is nowhere near the level of boxer a fighter like Lacey is.  Clearly concerned with the very real possibility of one of its superstars, and yes, Diaz has to be considered a superstar, UFC honcho Dana White reportedly flew out to Stockton to speak with Diaz and his manager Cesar Gracie presumably to talk him out of his boxing plans. 

Seems like these talks according to the UFC’s plans as Don Chargin, Diaz’s boxing promoter of record, issued a press release this week triumphantly announcing Diaz’s intentions to remain focused on MMA:

Don Chargin states, "Nick is a good kid and a very exciting fighter.  Right now he has an opportunity of a lifetime as it pertains to his MMA career.  While I don't doubt that Nick and his team were serious about taking the big step into boxing, it only makes sense for him to finish what he started and see how far he can go in MMA before he does anything in boxing.  It's all about timing... we began these discussions over two years ago and nobody would have imagined the type of demand that there currently is for Nick as a mixed martial artist."

Cesar Gracie (Nick's manager) states, "There are some people that have said we were just posturing to go into professional boxing and they don't understand that this thing is something we had been working on since 2009.  It wasn't just out of nowhere but at this point in time, there's a certain chance that comes along once in a very long while and it only makes sense to stick to MMA as of right now.  Nick's been working really hard to get to this point in his MMA career and it wouldn't make sense for us to make that transition into boxing right now.  If this were a couple months ago or if certain fights had played out differently, we'd definitely be ready to go into boxing, but that's not how it played out.  Don Chargin is a great boxing promoter and he understood our dilemma completely and I thank him for that."

The “opportunity of a lifetime” blurb from Chargin is what has now set the MMA world a tizzy in speculating that this somehow means a showdown with UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, presumably at UFC 140 taking place in St-Pierre’s hometown of Montreal in December.  It’s a rumor which has been flatly denied by Dana White this week in an interview with Heavy.com.  Still, to know White is to know that he is not above stretching the truth when it serves his purpose. 

What I would venture to guess is that while a St-Pierre-Diaz fight is not signed, sealed, and delivered at this very moment, should the contract be consummated expect a huge announcement regarding St-Pierre-Diaz this winter.  It’s a fight that is too big not to happen and with a clause in Diaz’s contract with Strikeforce, a boxing match is legally acceptable.  White can see the dollar signs on this fight from a mile away and following GSP’s less than exciting outing with Jake Shields, both he and the UFC need an intriguing match for their 170 pound champion.  Diaz would be the perfect foil for such an event.  This is why I see this hypothetical match-up becoming a reality real soon.