Nick Diaz has never been shy about sharing his opinions, nor about expressing his disdain for fulfilling the media obligations that come with being a popular professional fighter.
For that reason, it was not exactly a surprise last week when — after showing up his prerequisite 10-15 minutes late for a Strikeforce media conference call – Diaz got off on a rant. A bit more surprising? Some of the targets of his rage.
Catching Diaz’s scorn on this day were his UFC counterparts Josh Koscheck and Georges St. Pierre. Diaz accused both guys of being protected by their Octagon overlords and said he felt that despite the fact they fight for competing organizations he was confident that a bout between himself and Georges St. Pierre could be arranged. If everybody really wanted to do it, that is. As usual, Diaz’s words were laced with profanity, so be warned before reading on.
“(The UFC) made easy fights for those guys,” he said. “We’ve got some guy who doesn’t even fight, he drinks at a bar and we took him to fight Josh Koscheck one day. He didn’t even know who he was fighting. I’ve never had fights like that. So when you bring up guys like that to me and tell me they’re the best fighters in the world, it’s a fucking joke …
“Straight up, people think (St. Pierre) is better than me and it’s bullshit,” Diaz went on. “He just fought Josh Koscheck for fucking five rounds (and) I just told you about Josh Koscheck. Why are you saying he’s the best? Because we fight for different companies? I think (a fight between me and St. Pierre) is big enough to where they can get enough money involved where they can organize that show.”
While nothing Diaz says can be considered shocking anymore, these particular comments are interesting for a couple of reasons. First, because Diaz accused St. Pierre and Koscheck of feasting on lesser competition as he himself prepares to defend his Strikeforce welterweight title against Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos this weekend. Santos is a dangerous opponent, for sure, but he’s also a guy who has only been a welterweight for one previous bout and isn’t ranked in anybody’s 170-pound Top 10. Frankly, he’s not even in the USA Today/SB Nation consensus Top 20.
It’ tempting to say Diaz pointing the finger at GSP and Koscheck is a classic pot-and-kettle situation. Especially since Diaz only just recently re-upped with Strikeforce on a new multi-fight contract. If he had a burning desire to fight St. Pierre – or even prove to the world how overrated guys like Koscheck apparently are – he just had his chance. UFC President Dana White even commented this week that he’d welcome Diaz back to the Octagon so long as the cantankerous fighter could make even a halfhearted effort to “play the game.”
So what gives? Did Diaz feel somehow bound – either legally or morally – to re-sign with Strikeforce? Does he enjoy the added stroke he has within that company, which clearly can’t force him to do anything he doesn’t want to do? Or is the truth that deep down he enjoys being the big fish in Strikeforce’s comparatively small pond? Does he like lobbing stones at guys like St. Pierre and Koscheck as he defends his title against pumped up lightweights like KJ Noons and unheralded nobodies like Santos?
Like most things with Nick Diaz, we’ll probably never know. Given the chance, he’d probably talk at great length on the subject, but at the end of the day, would he really be saying anything?
Chad Dundas writes about MMA for CraveOnline, Versus.com and CagePotato.com. He lives in Missoula, MT.