UFC 143: Controversy ends with Diaz retiring

Jake Cochran, Columnist

A continuous cycle of poor decisions leading to other bad decisions can roughly sum up what happened to Nick Diaz last Saturday night.

Diaz lost an extremely close judges’ decision to Carlos Condit at UFC 143. Later that week Diaz failed his drug test. All of this happened for a fight that should not have ever taken place.

The first bad decision would lead to around August or so, when Diaz decided to miss multiple flights and seemingly drop off the face of the earth for a few days. This probably wouldn’t be the worst decision normally, but when you are high profile athlete that is expected to be at a press conference to hype a championship fight, it can cause problems.

Problems like losing the opportunity to fight for the championship of the most prestigious organization in the sport. Not the best decision on any of the parties involved.

This would be the equivalent of Tom Brady not going to Media day on Tuesday for the Super Bowl and then Roger Goodell saying the Patriots will now be replaced by the Bengals in the Super Bowl because he doesn’t think the Patriots will be there for the Super Bowl.

But when Diaz did finally reemerge to the public, only 48 hours later, he made roughly the worst decision one could think of. Diaz decided instead of pleading sympathy and apologizing for his mistakes, that he would stand by them and even reinforce the decision, Diaz made the comment that he doesn’t want to go around and do beauty pageants, he gets paid to fight.

The beauty pageant that he did not do would be referring to the press conference, which is actually pretty hilarious if one takes the context out of the world of sports.

They get all the athletes on the stage, where they are all dressed up in either an extremely nice suit or they are wearing shirts and shorts with sponsors’ logos so large and frequent even a NASCAR driver would think it’s tacky. Then they sit behind a desk with a microphone where they answer questions that the media asks them, and usually give a trained answer that is very vague.

Then at the end of the questions the fighters stand up in front of everyone, and if its weigh in day, you better believe they are stripping down to something about as revealing as a swimsuit. And they look at each other, trying to make their angriest face to scare the other person when they both know that it would not be wise to start the fight that day.

So broken out of the sports world this comment makes complete sense, you’ve gotten all dressed up, the question and answer and to top it all off talent and swimsuit portion are combined. The talent being who can act like they are going to actually start the fight that day.

Since Diaz decided that “the beauty pageant world wasn’t for him,” Dana White, the outspoken president of the UFC, decided that the welterweight title shot wasn’t for him either.

White decided that Carlos Condit would be the next to get a shot at Georges St Pierre, and he would demote Diaz to fighting BJ Penn, Condit’s original opponent.

In the upcoming months, St Pierre went on to injury his knee and back out of his title defense leaving Condit without an opponent and yet again promoting Diaz to the Main event, basically White ended up demoting Diaz, only to end up promoting Diaz and once the night was over Diaz again made his case clear as to why he was the number one contender to begin with retiring BJ Penn after his complete destruction.

Once the dust cleared from that fight, it was clear that Diaz was the next person to get a shot against Georges St Pierre, leaving Condit without an opponent. This was not such a big deal for Condit, who said that he would rather stay active than wait for his title shot. But then Condit’s agent said that it would not make sense for Condit to fight anyone other than the champion, and then later he would revoke his statement to say the only other person that would make sense to fight would a curly headed wrestler, trying to avoid saying a perennial contender’s name, Josh Koscheck.

According to this plan it was starting to look like the Super Bowl card, UFC 143 would look like; GSP versus Diaz, and Condit versus Koscheck. But this just made too much sense for everything to work out perfectly. So the champion, GSP completely blew out his ACL, an injury that requires reconstructive surgery and a long recovery process, making the match with Diaz not an option.

So once again the UFC had to play musical chairs with who is fighting who, and it ended up with Diaz fighting Condit and Koscheck fighting a far lower ranked Mike Pierce lower on the card.

This set the stage for one of the worst decisions in the sport, and sparking an infinite amount of message board wars.

To completely understand the debate about the scoring of this fight, one has to comprehend the way the UFC scores its fights. They judge on effective striking, effective grappling, effective aggression and octagon control. There isn’t supposed to any specific criteria that are weighted more heavily than another unless the fight dictates it. It makes it about as clear as mud what any of that means, because it’s completely interpretive.

You would assume if all things are weighted equal, a person that came forward (aggression) and controlled the pace of the fight and dictated where it happened (octagon control) would have had at least been in consideration for each round. You would also be safe to assume that if a person had the better in a grappling exchange that that would be scored ahead in that round easily taking three of the four categories.

Effective striking is also up for debate because the idea of effective striking is that the person lands consistent significant strikes. Most people would assume that a combination would be more significant than multiple leg kicks with nothing tying them together. Quantity of strikes can be taken into consideration on this, but it should not be the sole basis of this.

If Condit was landing so many, as Diaz put it ‘little baby leg kicks,’ and does nothing with them, what makes that a significant strike?

You would be hard pressed to find a moment in this fight where Diaz is pressured backwards for a significant amount of time yet on the three judges’ scorecards they all had Diaz losing on a decision. Two of the judges even gave Condit a 49-46 victory, giving Diaz only one round of the five round fight which he was completely on the offensive an consistently taunting his opponent to which Condit had no knockdowns or offensive grappling maneuvers.

My biggest gripe about this fight happened in the fifth round when the feet action went the same way as all the other rounds, but Diaz pushed Condit back against the cage and landed powerful strikes as Condit could only land single strikes and then run away. Condit kept trying to reset and land a single strike and retreat yet again.

The significance of this round was the fact the fight got to the ground. Diaz took Condit to the ground had his back and was advancing position as the fight ended, which would clearly give Diaz the fight, but only one of the judges gave Diaz round 5.

Anyone that read the rulebook would see Diaz won that round.

When Joe Rogan asked Nick Diaz about the fight he said how if that is how the game is going to be played that he doesn’t want to play anymore. I cannot blame Nick Diaz for his response in the least bit as I myself a person sitting at home watching the fight was completely enraged with the outcome.

I’ve come out on the end of some bad decision in my career and it is not a happy place after those fights, Nick Diaz is completely justified in his statements and I’d defend my point to the grave. Nick Diaz sums it up the best though, “That is the the way they understand to play this game, and I don’t wanna play this game no more.”