The Most Unpredictable Man in Sports: Nick Diaz

Jake Cochran, Columnist

It is an odd situation that someone admits that they are being paid way too much money to do something, but then most of Nick Diaz’s career can be written off as an odd situation.

When Diaz made his debut as a professional mixed martial artist in 2001 at the age of 18, he was an anomaly then too. Not many fighters make their professional debut at 18 and even fewer fighters are fighting in the UFC three years later. During his UFC debut, he came in as an accomplished grappler against Robbie Lawler, a powerful striker and big favorite.

Many people thought Diaz was going to try to take the fight to the ground and try for the submission, so when Diaz started to get the better of Lawler on the feet it was strange.

It was even more unexpected when Diaz started to vocally assault Lawler in the octagon as they fought, and just to add the weirdness Diaz started to drop his hands and tell Lawler to swing at him.

Most people would not think this to be wise for the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, but most people aren’t Nick Diaz. Diaz went on to frustrate Lawler so much with his arrogance and taunting, Lawler got sloppy and left himself open for a right hook that ended his night. Diaz the heavy underdog won that fight and sent a message to the world.

Fast-forward a couple years later to 2007 and Diaz is fighting in PRIDE FC, the premiere Japanese MMA organization against their lightweight champion, Takanori Gomi. After Gomi got the best of him in the first round of their non-title fight, Diaz comes back in the second and pulls off an extremely rare Gogoplata finish to submit The Fireball Kid.

But the fight isn’t the strangest thing about this event; drug testing is what makes this event significant. In the drug screenings for the fight Diaz tested positive for marijuana, but he didn’t just test positive, he practically set the record.           

According to Dr. Tony Alamo of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, 15 is considered a positive test but the NSAC uses 50 as the actual positive. Diaz scored a whopping 145, almost three times the mark.

Dr. Alamo claimed that the result showed that Diaz was almost certainly intoxicated during his fight with the Lightweight Champion, and the marijuana helped him endured the shots he was taking during the fight round.

The win was turned over to a no contest and Diaz said that he did not smoke to be intoxicated for the fight. He said he did not believe that marijuana was not a performance-enhancing drug.
History then decided to repeat itself in 2011; Diaz is now riding a nine-fight win streak and defending his title as Strikeforce’s Welterweight Champion against a devastating British striker, Paul Daley.

Diaz is doing his usual routine of dropping his hands and taunting his opponent, only this night went a little differently.

Diaz got rocked multiple times in their fight, which only lasted one almost five minute round. Apparently Diaz said something to get the hot-headed Daley very frustrated and start to swing for the fences early, but Diaz found his composure after being rocked and came back to pour it onto the fearsome striker knocking him down and finishing him at 4:57 in the first round. This ending made the fight easily the round of the year, and Diaz the four-time Strikeforce Welterweight Champion.

At the following press conference, Diaz goes on a rant about how he does not make enough money in this sport and declares that he wants to go do boxing to make more money.

Scott Coker, the president of Strikeforce, said that he can technically do that because it is in his contract.
So the world of Mixed Martial Arts then sat and watched as one of their most promising athletes left the sport to go box, until Dana White decided it wasn’t time to sit idly by anymore and he offered Diaz a contract with the UFC, and chance to fight their welterweight champion, Georges St .Pierre at UFC 137.

Journalists and fans alike were highly anticipating this match-up, calling it fight of the year before the date was even set. People believed Diaz was unpredictable and reckless enough to get the champion, St. Pierre, to make a mistake and possibly lose the title he held onto so long.

When everything seemed to be going perfectly for the UFC, Diaz showed his unpredictability was not limited to his time in the cage. He missed multiple flights for a press conference to hype the upcoming match-up and he also was unreachable for almost 48 hours afterwards.

This series of events then prompted Dana White to take away Diaz’s title shot and he even considered terminating his contract with the UFC before he decided that instead of a title shot Diaz would fight BJ Penn.
With Diaz not getting the title shot, someone had to. Here is where Carlos Condit is introduced into this situation.

Condit was set to fight BJ Penn at the same UFC 137 event. But, Dana decided instead of making GSP-BJ III, (the first two GSP dominated handily), he would let Condit get his chance to fight GSP. This would have worked out fine too if it weren’t for those meddling knee injuries.

GSP went on to injure his knee and had to pull out of the fight, leaving Condit without an opponent and again making Diaz the headliner for this fight. Diaz beat ‘The Prodigy’ with ease and even made the former champion retire because he was bloodied up so badly that he, “Didn’t want to come home to his kids looking like that anymore.”

With Diaz winning that fight, he was the obvious choice to get the title shot against St. Pierre, which left Condit without an opponent. Most of the MMA World was okay with this except for Condit’s agent, who went against his client’s will to fight as soon as possible and said that he would rather just wait to get his title shot.
This put the UFC in an odd position because Diaz-GSP was set to happen on Super Bowl weekend to make UFC 143 one of the biggest cards of the year. But yet again, injury struck the champion. Rush completely tore his ACL and needed reconstructive surgery, putting him out until easily November.

And that is how UFC 143’s headliner match of Condit versus Diaz for the interim welterweight title came into the picture. The fight was very close on paper ,but most gave the advantage to Diaz because he has the stronger ground game, making him the better, more well-rounded fighter.

Throughout the whole fight Diaz constantly was moving forward, pushing Condit backwards and being the obvious aggressor throughout. However, it was Condit who was landing more strikes, Diaz was landing with more power and significance but Condit was landing more often and that was enough to give him the decision in the eye of the judges, making one of the most fiercely debated decisions in recent memory.

The decision was so controversial that Diaz retired from the sport in the post fight interview because of his frustration with the judging.

In the days after the fight, many people were calling for the immediate rematch because of the controversial nature of the decision and the lack of competition for Condit. The actual champion would still be out until at least November.

Everything seemed to be going right when Dana White said the rematch was a lock and Condit agreed to the fight, but the unpredictable nature of Diaz struck again.

In the drug testing, Diaz tested positive for marijuana again and the NSAC said that they were going to seek disciplinary action against Diaz. The action would most likely be a form of suspending his license, which basically ended the hope for an immediate rematch.

In the coming days we will learn more as this unfolds but as of now, Nick Diaz has not made a statement on the drug test, rematch, or even his retirement status.