Nate Diaz: The good, the BMF and the Irish
Nate Diaz. Nate fucking Diaz. The Stockton slapping, strap seeking, submissionist was having a quiet camp ahead of his highly anticipated UFC 244 BMF Title bout with Jorge Masvidal. Almost.
That was until Oct, 25th when he posted a very Nate Diaz-Esque notice on to his Twitter page. My heart sank when I read the caption;
“I’m not gonna make it out to NYC for fight week next week”
A flurry of reasons entered my head when reading this, though none of them was along the lines of the reason given in his next line.
“They say I tested with elevated levels that they say might be from some tainted supplements.”
Nate Diaz? Nate fucking Diaz? Unlike any of the other fighters flagged by USADA in regards to elevated supplement levels, this just didn’t feel like it COULD be true, and it wasn’t just me that thought this. Even his opponent Jorge Masvidal tweeted out a message of support for Diaz, labelling him “one of the cleanest mofo’s” in the game.
A lot can be said about the way in which USADA announce these types of findings, too much for me to say here, but a lot can also be said Nate’s claim that “their game” was to “try and hide it”.
Former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, and current WWE Superstar, Ronda Rousey was another who offered her support of Nate.
“Everyone knows you’re clean, fuck cheaters, PEDs are for P-U-S-S-I-E-S”
There are very few, if any, fighters who would have received the same level of support after announcing they would not be fighting on the upcoming card. That group of fighters gets even smaller when taking into account the fact that this is the UFC’s 500th event and they’ve made a one-of-a-kind BMF Title for the occasion. But Nate Diaz doesn’t care about any of that, and that’s exactly why people love him. He literally slaps UFC fighters in the Octagon. He doesn’t hold the most impressive record in the division, but he has over a million more Instagram followers than UFC legend, Georges St-Pierre which speaks volumes about his fanbase. All that could be perceived as bad for Nate Diaz is seen as good.
Trying my hardest not to use the term ‘old school’, Pre-Reebok UFC fans have always been very aware of both the Diaz brothers. Nate’s older brother, Nick, fought in UFC as far back as 2003, in UFC 44 before leaving to fight in other organisations. He captured inaugural Welterweight gold in Strikeforce and defended that crown three times before jumping to MMA flagship, UFC for a second stint. The younger Diaz brother broke into the UFC in 2007 after submitting Manvel Gamburyan in The Ultimate Fighter Season Five Finale and has been a cult hero since.
However, it cannot be denied that many fans today know Nate from the infamous, Conor Mcgregor fights.
Two mammoth events which have reportedly generated just under three million PPV buys for the UFC, with a trilogy fight always on the horizon. It was UFC 196 when Diaz stepped in on 13 days notice to submit Mcgregor in the second round, before telling his new fans around the world “I’m not surprised, motherfuckers!”
The rematch, like the first bout, took place at 170lbs and eclipsed the first meeting to earn the most PPV buys. Sequels are always dicey, but it’s fair to say this one was beyond expectations as a five-round brawl ended in a narrow victory for Mcgregor via majority decision. We still wait (dream) for the conclusive deciding fight.
In terms of stardom, Conor Mcgregor is almost a separate entity within the UFC, he has surpassed the company, something which was cemented with his boxing match against Floyd Mayweather, in terms of popularity. Though Nate Diaz continues to be a leading star within the company, something that won’t change during his career.
Whether he wins the BMF Title against Masvidal or not on Nov 2nd, fans will continue to stick by the 209 gangsta through the good, the BMF and the Irish.