Nick Diaz: Is He Good for the Sport?

Perennial top welterweight contender, all-around badass and unabashed malcontent Nick Diaz will step into the cage tonight to face champ Georges St.-Pierre at UFC 158, and with those top-level boxing and jiu-jitsu skills he possesses comes the prospect that if he wins (or loses for that matter), the Stockton bad boy could easily fail every drug test and ditch every media obligation going forward. Which begs the question: Is Nick Diaz good for the sport?

Here’s what the Rebellion crew had to saw on the matter.

 

Dana Becker, FightLine and MMAConvert:

The “reporter” in me says yes, Nick Diaz is great for the sport because he brings interesting takes on a number of subjects – when he shows up for press events. His insight is so out-of-this world that you really don’t know what to expect. Unlike Chael Sonnen, Diaz just goes from one end of the spectrum to another. However, there is this other side of me that feels like there is no place for someone who doesn’t want to play by the same rules as everybody else. The marijuana use, the missing of planned events – MMA and, more important, the UFC, do not need that kind of attention.

 

Chris Leslie, MMAFrenzy:

Nick Diaz is a mixed bag in regards to his influence on MMA. He is a big boost to the media, as the mere mention of his name usually attracts a firestorm from his fans and detractors alike. That said, when it comes to battling stereotypes, he is terrible for the sport. Diaz will always be a mixed bag for the sport of MMA, but with the right handling he is a very valuable asset to have when promoting a fight. Once his value diminishes however, his antics make him an easy cut.

 

Miguel Barragan, Fighters.com and FightLine:

Nick Diaz is absolutely not good for the sport. Nick, along with his brother Nate show fans, both hardcore and general fans what’s wrong with MMA. The UFC is doing what they can to milk every drop they can out of the Nick in terms of his attractiveness and overall popularity. But if the UFC and the entire sport of MMA expects to continue evolving, to the point where certain UFC higher-ups are in court attempting to bring MMA to New York, the last thing the sport needs is a f-bomb dropping, irresponsible, marijuana smoking, pessimistic and often unintelligible antagonist. Mind you, this is coming from a Nick Diaz fan. But a Diaz fan who is not only looking out for the future of my chosen sport but also looking at the big picture. I want MMA to flourish even further than it has to this point and if at the current time that means pitting an undeserving Nick Diaz against the UFC welterweight champion Georges St Pierre, so be it. But realistically, how good would it appear to the general fan if Diaz emerges victorious Saturday night and have him represent the best of the welterweight division? I am a fan of what Nick does in the octagon and what he represents in terms of keeping the sport clean of performance enhancing drugs (PED’s), but in today’s world, marijuana smoking is still taboo and having Diaz represent the UFC to the capacity of being their welterweight champion would be the biggest target any anit-MMA lobbyist could aim for. If they’re looking for a scapegoat, the UFC is making it easier for them by pitting Diaz as the potential face of the UFC’s welterweight division. Am I a fan of Diaz’s? You bet I am. Is he good for the sport? The bottom line is absolutely not

 

John Petit, Fighters.com:

This is one of those situations where I have to separate myself from being a fan of the sport and an analyst of the sport. ‘Fan me’ loves everything about Nick Diaz. His aggression, his technique, his skill, his animosity, and the dichotomy of him being so talented and so hated at the same time makes him one of the most enjoyable fighters for me to watch. ‘Analyst me’ sees a guy who has a good shot at defrocking one of the best fighters in the game on Saturday night in Montreal, but according to Diaz he is just hoping he passes the post fight drug screen. The attitude of Nick Diaz can be overlooked, but if he wants to be treated like a professional he needs to act like one. That includes caring enough about a championship fight to stop using cannabis in time to guarantee he would pass a test. If things go south for Diaz, we may have a champion who may be stripped of the title as soon as he gets the belt and get suspended for a year, and no that isn’t good for the sport.

 

Sam Genovese, MMAConvert:

I know these arguments are necessary but I generally don’t enjoy arguing about if someone is “good” or “bad” for the sport. Nick Diaz is a hothead and can be annoying at times. But he’s no different than plenty of other athletes in other sports who are troublemakers. The only way I would ever consider someone bad for MMA is if someone were to commit some heinous act on a national stage. As it is, the mainstream media doesn’t care if Diaz challenges St. Pierre to a fight in a hotel. The mainstream media doesn’t care when he pops positive for steroids. However, if he were to go into the stands and punch a fan, much like Ron Artest did a few years ago, THEN he would be bad for the sport. That kind of event would be covered ad nauseum by ESPN and Sportscenter. I don’t think Diaz will ever do anything like that, so in my mind, he isn’t bad for the sport.

 

Mike Stets, FightLine:

Nick Diaz is an enigma that the media constantly tries to figure out. He has become a media magnet, attracting reporters who feverishly await any line that could make for a huge story.  Analyzing his paradox statements, and trying to figure out what he is really trying to say has consumed all who cover him. There is no schtick, an Andy Kaufman he is not. He fires away any thought without a filter.  Throw in the fact that he has been one of the best in his division his entire career and it just fits perfectly.    He is a  true rebel who fulfills his role as an antagonist more than he fulfills his media obligations, in a sport that started out as rebellious; and he always comes to fight–that is great for the sport.

 

Ben Bieker, CagedInsider:

Personally, I could care less about Nick Diaz and his antics. Whether it is authentic or not remains to be seen, but there are two positives that he helps bring to the fight cards he is on. First, a lot of people want to watch GSP fight him since they will bring a different side to the long time champion, and I hope he brings the pre-Serra GSP back out. The fighter who finished fights on the feet or on the ground. Also, the attention this card receives brings the spot light on fighters like Jake Ellenberger, Carlos Condit, and Johny Hendricks who generally do not talk trash, but deserve to have as many fans necessary watch their fights since they are usually amazing.

 

Jake Berezansky, MMAConvert:

Yes, he acts like a child, and he hides he behind the banner of a “professional athlete”. I’m not doubting his ability to compete. I do doubt the fact that he’s really that motivated though. He whines and cries way too much to garner any real respect. Like the time he “retired” following his loss to Condit… Boo hoo dude, you lost. Finish your fights, and it won’t be an issue in the future. Also, missing all these events that’s he’s legally contracted to attend is as asinine as it is unacceptable. I’d love to see him fired.

Brendhan Conlan, Five Ounces of Pain and Fighters.com

Diaz is tough as nails, a polished pugilist, and entertaining to watch for a number of reasons. We’re not talking about a man who is out partying until sunrise, gets in trouble with the law, or injects steroids into his body. He misses media obligations, smokes medically prescribed marijuana, and speaks his mind without fear of how others will react. Though he’s not a true-to-form professional, the controversial Californian’s brand of bizarre behavior creates buzz and brings in new viewers; he’s an anti-hero who also happens to be a helluva fighter. As such, he is “good” for Mixed Martial Arts.