Pretending to be someone your not is a waste of the person you are. – Kurt Cobain
The last few months I have started to see young men getting into the amateur MMA cage and trying to morph into their favorite fighter Nick Diaz. On one occasion I saw a young man throw a head butt at the weigh ins, two finger salute at the stare down, mock his opponent during the fight, and at the end of it all, almost incite a cage brawl by getting in the face of one of the opposing coaches. True story.
I will not preach to the youth of our day; nobody likes a sermon. I will not pound on a pulpit or stand on a soapbox and most of all I will not utter the words, “kids today.” You see this is what happens when you start getting older. Besides the grey hair in unwelcome places and slower metabolism, you start to look at the world around you differently. So please excuse the words below as I’m sure it will be full of contradictions. I’m in a state of conflict.
Nick Diaz is an interesting fellow. I can see why so many people are intrigued. He is your typical bad boy; chip firmly placed on shoulder with the big middle finger pointed at the world. I can dig that. Nick does what he wants and there is a part in all of us that can admire that. There are days where I wish I didn’t have to care about anything. You ever see that movie Office Space? Good movie. I think we would all like to be Peter Gibbons.
The important thing to note is that Diaz is just being himself. He’s a tragic soul with unyielding talent who dances to the beat of a different kind of bongo drum and Tupac Shakur. I can get behind a guy who just wants to take a hit from the Volcano of disenchantment. If he wants to roll a tight joint of attitude with traces of “FU Pay Me,” no worries, I can understand that. However behind all of that thick smoke of freshly smoked bravado, is pure purple haze talent.
So here is my inner conflict. It’s hard to ignore that kind of freshly rolled aptitude. I’m a Diaz admirer but I’m not sure if I’m ready for the Diaz clone war. I like the cut of his jib, but why? In some ways he is everything that the sport is avoiding. There is only room for a few black hats in this town and after a while even the few start to wear thin and burn out.
While the UFC wrestles with social chaos and how long of a leash they should give their athletes, there will be no shortage of problem fighters that will come down the pipe with $ in their eyeballs. It’s the fight game. There is a deep and dark layer in all of us that likes to see disorder. We like the characters and the drama in the play. Nick Diaz incites drama. He taps into that little piece of anarchy in all of us. It’s instinctual not to turn away as we watch a train wreck.
As we roll along into this new era of MMA, what kind of athlete does the sport need to have? One that no shows obligations? Disrespects the sport? Whines and moans when things don’t go his way? I guess what I’m asking is, do we need more Diaz? We already have two; do we need more Metal Mulisha wearing storm troopers?
These young guys coming up in the sport don’t need to emulate they need to create. As Dr. Seus said, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Guys and gals need to just focus on being professionals and be the best at what they do.
The sport is growing at a rapid rate so while one works on their kimura let us not forget to work on integrity. Money, fame, and all the pitfalls that come with “making it” will require a professional. Nick Diaz is a fighter, a talent, and a riddle but he is not a professional, from what I see, he only plays one on TV. Wasting opportunity isn’t a quality to admire it’s one to pity.
So I beg to all aspiring fighters, be something we haven’t seen. Hype and market yourself to the hilt. Bring some personality and talent to the game, but leave the Nick Diaz costume at home. Nobody wants a copy of a copy, because I grew up in the tape cassette era and a copy of a copy is pretty shitty quality.