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Nick Diaz: Good for UFC?

By Sean Farrell

So in pro wrestling we have terms for “good guys” and “bad guys” and they are called “faces” and “heels”. What does this have to do with anything relating to MMA? Well quite honestly, the UFC and MMA in general is just the WWE and TNA Wrestling in a reality setting with no fixed outcomes. But back on subject, when we think of “faces” in the UFC fan favorites such as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Brock Lesnar, Georges St. Pierre, and many others come to mind. These men are top draws and always produce the most buys when they are on any fight card. But are they really the guys who sell the fights? NO! That honor belongs to the “heels” of the UFC such as Anderson Silva, Michael Bisping, Chael Sonnen, and the top “heel” in ALL of sports Nick Diaz.

Nick Diaz is a man who receives the most mixed reaction in most if not all of MMA. I personally do not like Nick Diaz, but he is a hell of a fighter. At UFC 137 however, Diaz showed how he is very similar to a coin being tossed in the air, as he showed respect and honor to the man who took him to his limit in BJ Penn and right before the coin hit the ground it flipped one more time and he called the UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre “scared” of him. This made the crowd “choo”(this is a term I came up with when cheers and boos are dead even) Diaz and it became clear then that he is the catalyst.

Without guys like Nick Diaz, the UFC and MMA would be what it is supposed to be, a place for martial artist to test their skills and still remain respectful towards one another and their arts. BUT, this is 2011 and the “casual” UFC fan simply wants “flash” a “brawl” and/or a “bloodbath” much like the old UFC but with weight classes. Now before I get blasted and told this isn’t true, let me just add that you are FULL OF SH*T, if you don’t buy that as true.

A fine example would be Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis, that fight was DEAD EVEN going into the last round and was one of the best fights in recent memory, but what happened before Pettis went up the cage wall and came off with the “Showtime Kick” in the final frame? EXACTLY! No “casual” fan cares when they should, the grappling and counters were EXCELLENT the entire fight and was a TRUE showing of the sport of MMA in its purest form, but people will only remember the kick that didn’t even end the fight mind you.

Another example of this is Bonnar vs Griffin…Both of these men are decent but not great and never will be “great” fighters, but they were part of one of the bloodiest wars ever seen in MMA and will forever be remembered. What’s my point on all of this? Well it is quite simple *COUGH* Akiyama *COUGH*, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TALENT ANYMORE! Just guys willing to stand and bang and bust each other up for the fans, and to all who are purist like myself and are cringing with every line of this piece, just remember without the so called “heels” being loud mouths, bad mouths, and sh*t talkers, who really cares in the “casual” demographic?

Back to Nick Diaz however, Carlos Condit EARNED his UFC title shot against Georges St. Pierre, but the problem is he will have to wait. Why? Because he simply is more respectful than Diaz and people would rather see the trash talker in a bout over Condit which is mind blowing. Does Diaz deserve a shot? Yes! But Condit does as well and it comes down to who will draw better, and well Condit doesn’t talk enough sh*t or disrespect the champion enough and will have to wait his turn.

The way the matches are being booked in the UFC nowadays is very similar to the WWE/F of old, the top heel is booked against the top face and human nature is always intrigued by this struggle of “good versus evil”. Am I against it? Yes! Highly in MMA, but is my one PPV buy enough to justify the 500,000+ “casual” PPV buyers? NOT AT ALL!!! And it is what it is.

In closing, I think the UFC realized the potential of this strategy and its a good one, but MANY fighters who are respectful and deserving are going to start being overlooked for guys like Diaz and Sonnen because well, they can talk sh*t like no one else and drama sells.

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