twitter google

Fightweets: What if Nick Diaz wins at UFC 158?

Once you’ve been in the sports journalism business awhile, you realize the age-old industry adage is true: You don’t root for teams or players, you just root for the best story on any given night. And any mixed martial arts reporter who tells you that they haven’t paused to contemplate that the best story that could come out of UFC 158 is Nick Diaz winning the UFC welterweight title is probably lying. Can you imagine, for a moment, a world in which Stockton’s finest controls one of the UFC’s championships, and UFC president Dana White had no choice but to play ball? A fighter who flouts the way the UFC wants its fighters to behave and routinely veers off the script? One who can’t even promise he’ll be able to pass his post-fight drug test? The headlines would never stop. Keep in mind the UFC has already enabled Diaz’s sense of entitlement. Diaz lost his last fight and was suspended for a year, but still was handed a main event title shot. He’s gotten away with blowing off Countdown shoots and open workouts. White’s even gone on defense for him: At Thursday’s press conference, he shut down Ariel Helwani’s valid line of questioning to Diaz about his Wednesday no-show, which was going to be the first question at the press conference regardless of who had the mic. At every turn, Diaz’s bosses have demonstrated that he can play by his own set of rules at a time. And that’s at a point he didn’t have much in the way of leverage. What will happen if Diaz gets his hands on one of the company’s most prized titles, the one Matt Hughes and GSP have spent over a decade building? It would mean plenty of clicks for our web site, that’s for sure. Georges St-Pierre is rightfully the favorite on Saturday night, but I think Diaz has a better chance of winning at the Bell Centre than most give him credit for. The idea is that St-Pierre will get him to the ground and dominate him there, like he has so many other opponents. But Diaz is so rarely on the floor that we forget what he’s capable of once he’s there. Remember when a prime Takanori Gomi broke Diaz’s orbital bone with a knee, and Diaz’s response was to keep his cool, take it to the ground, and finish him with a gogoplata? That could make things a lot more interesting than when GSP usually takes his opponents down. Chances are, though, that GSP wins. Which is probably what the UFC is hoping for: Get one huge buy rate out of Diaz while he’s still a viable headliner, then move on. But if Diaz actually wins, this is one gamble that could backfire. With that, on to a UFC 158-heavy edition of Fightweets. If you’d like to be considered in a future edition, hit me up on Twitter. More Diaz mania @DE_rek_XC: How much fun is it to cover a guy like Diaz? Every bit as fun to report on as it is for you guys to read and comment on the stories. I said last week that guys like Diaz, Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping make our jobs easy. Here’s the difference: Someone like Sonnen, while entertaining, is always working some angle. Bisping comes across like you’re having a beer together at a bar. Diaz, though, is a whole different breed. Nick Diaz actually believes he’s fighting for truth and justice. His worldview is a mix of spot-on (if oddly worded) analysis blended with generous helpings of paranoia and a king-sized persecution complex. That’s how you end up with interviews like the one Diaz gave a Toronto radio station on Thursday, in which he was asked if the UFC wants him to lose on Saturday, and he went on a rant about advertising and marketing by food corporations and somehow then tied that into Anderson Silva vs. Rich Franklin. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a response like that over the 200 or so robot/fighters who answer everything with I’ll fight whoever the UFC wants me to fight every single time. Another Diaz scenario @dpop2: I got another one. What happens if Diaz wins decisively then fails drug test? Well, White has already said that if Diaz flunks another drug test, he’ll have no choice but to cut him. If Diaz wins and fails his test? The UFC would have to fill a vacant title knowing that St-Pierre lost, and Diaz will have forever validated the notion in his head that he’s better than any fighter, but the world is out to get him and keep him from attaining what rightfully belongs to him. And we’d also, incidentally, have our ultimate proof that commissions have their heads up their backsides for treating marijuana as no different than PEDs or hardcore drugs of abuse. Can GSP be goaded? @Ivy_League_CAN: Does GSP fight with emotion now? Fighting smart is GSP, but with all the emotion, does that play into Diazs game? The Ivy Leaguer comes through with the million-dollar question. Can Diaz goad GSP into a brawl? At first glance, the idea seems preposterous. B.J. Penn and Josh Koscheck went out of their way to taunt St-Pierre before their fights, and St-Pierre never lost his focus. But Diaz is clearly getting under his skin. St-Pierre slammed his microphone off the table…

View the entire story here

Follow MMALinker