Nick Diaz candidly says he hates doing interviews. But the Elite XC lightweight contender is enraged by what he says is a false perception of him that has been created by what happened at the conclusion of the card Saturday on Showtime.
Diaz, who missed weight by eight pounds, defeated Muhsin Corbbrey with a third-round TKO in an uneventful fight at Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu.
Later, K.J. Noons, who had beaten Diaz for the vacant title, made his first defense by stopping Yves Edwards in the first round. Diaz was asked to go to the ring to do an interview to promote an upcoming rematch with Noons.
Tempers quickly got heated and there was pushing and shoving and nearly a full-scale riot. Diaz has taken the brunt of the heat for the incident, which looked like it came from the playbook of the WWE.
He was so angry that he did an interview to, he says, give his side of the story. And he points the finger squarely at Noons, who in one of his more charitable and less x-rated diatribes he referred to as "a poser."
But it started when he was asked to return to the ring to do an interview.
"I'm not a punk and I don't start (expletive)," Diaz said. "They brought me to the cage to do an interview about the rematch. I was doing my job. I didn't go in there like some crazy psycho (expletive). It wasn't staged. But it was all because of this (expletive) poser."
Diaz said he was upset when, after being asked if he wanted the rematch by interviewer Bill Goldberg, Noons asked the crowd what it thought. Noons was born in Hawaii and was the crowd favorite. Not surprisingly, the crowd vehemently said no.
Diaz asked Noons why he was afraid and he made an obscene gesture. Then, the pushing and shoving ensued.
But Diaz said it didn't end then. He said Monday he ran into Noons and his family after returning from a long run Sunday and that another confrontation ensued.
Again, he said, it was precipitated by Noons.
"My car pulled up in front of the hotel and he and his girlfriend and his mom and dad were there," Diaz said. "Right away, he put his mug on me. He was staring me down and trying to give the impression that he's hard core. I flipped him off, but he's standing over there like he's flashing. I go, 'What the (expletive) are you doing? I'm not the one doing (expletive).' I couldn't understand why this guy is putting his mug on me, but he had to act like he was some kind of a (expletive) tough guy in front of his girlfriend and his Dad."
Diaz said the sides have had numerous run-ins. He said he can't wait to fight Noons so the feud can end.
But most importantly, he said, he doesn't want fans to think he's a punk or that he staged Saturday's incident a la pro wrestling.
"This is war, this is life, and I take this very seriously," Diaz said. "I'm not the one bringing my family into the ring and showing them off. I'm not the one who (showed up to the pre-fight news conference) in a (expletive) suit trying to act like I'm some kind of tough guy (expletive) rich kid. This is war to me and we have a serious situation on our hands now."
And with that, let's get on to slightly less serious issues. I'll address your questions on a variety of MMA topics, with my answers in italics.
I like the sportsmanship that most fighters have for each other, though I believe the UFC has more professional and classier fighters than Elite XC. The Diaz brothers are more like two little kids in this sport who don't know anything about respect and try to bully their way into getting something like a title shot. When so-called fighters like the Diaz brothers fight, I change the channel and hope that the fight ends quickly so we can watch other classier professionals fighters compete. Nick and Nate both have skill, but who cares? They lack respect and integrity.
Newport News, Va.
I blame Elite XC and Showtime officials as much as I blame the fighters for what happened Saturday. It was a volatile situation and one that could easily have been avoided. But here's the thing that gets me: The first Noons-Diaz match was not like it was a great bout that demands a rematch. And the stoppage (Diaz, for cuts) was correct. So why such a quick do-over?
RING OR CAGE
Is the Affliction pay-per-view on July 19 going to be in a cage or a ring? If it is in a ring, they can rest assured they will draw far less PPV buys.
The fight is in a ring. I'm not sure what impact that will have on pay-per-view buys, though. If the card struggles on pay-per-view, it's more likely because a. the UFC had a pay-per-view two weeks earlier and times are tight for people financially; b. because as a new organization, not enough mainstream fans are aware of the card and c. the UFC may counter program Affliction and put a free card on Spike TV that night, splintering the audience.
MMA in general and the UFC in particular really needs to look how they market nicknames of their fighters. It seems they want everyone to have one, whether they are cool or not. What's worse is they don't position the nicknames correctly. Some should come BEFORE the first name while others flow better in the middle. If they insist on pushing these nicknames down our throats, the least they can do is make it read or sound better. "The Prodigy" B.J. Penn is better than B.J. "The Prodigy" Penn. Same with Randy Couture. "The Natural" Randy Couture sounds better. I know the UFC is afraid to emulate the WWE but face it, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin sounds better than Steve "Stone Cold" Austin. Also, "the Axe Murderer" is probably not a great nickname for this sport. Calling Sean Sherk the "Muscle Shark" when he was busted for steroids is ignorant, too.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
I pretty much agree, Carl, though it's not the most pressing issue in the sport. It wasn't all that wise, in my humble opinion, to allow Sherk to wear trunks touting a supplement company for his match with Penn when he was just coming off that steroids suspension.
PLANS FOR HENDO
I have not heard anything about Dan Henderson since the Anderson Silva fight in March. What do you think will be his next move, middleweight or light heavyweight? I think a Rich Franklin fight would be great, but I am hesitant to think that the UFC would do that fight. What about a possibility of Wanderlei and Dan Henderson fighting a rematch?
I haven't heard specifically of any plans for Henderson yet. I think a fight with Franklin would be superb. If Henderson won, it would vault him into a potential rematch with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. As for Wanderlei Silva, I'm in favor of watching him fight any one, any time at any place. He's that entertaining. If I had to bet where Hendo fights next, I'd say middleweight. That division needs him more than the light heavyweight division does.
I can't argue with your assessment of Matt Hughes; I've noticed that many fighters with a strong wrestling base tend to burn out just a little faster, usually due to the immense amount of physical abuse that they end up taking (Randy Couture is the exception, not the rule, and possibly a mutant super-hero of some sort). Tito Ortiz is in even worse shape, mostly due to his style of fighting. I believe he's one good fight away from destroying his back. This is not to take away from either fighter; their records and reputations speak for themselves. I have the utmost respect for both elite competitors. That being said, I'm a big fan of the heavyweights, but I wonder how the title picture is shaping up. My big question is this: Who do you believe are the top five heavyweights in the UFC? Who deserves the title shot most?
I agree with your points about Hughes and wrestlers in general, Corvin. As for the UFC's heavyweights, clearly, the division has taken its hits with losses to Affliction. If we include Couture, I'd rank them thusly: Couture, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Frank Mir, Fabricio Werdum and Brandon Vera. But I think the UFC has a troika of potential star heavyweights in Cain Velasquez, Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin. Frank Mir is going to get the next shot, based on his win over Lesnar. I have no problem with Frank getting it, though plans will be scuttled if Couture somehow returns to the UFC.
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