Saturday, February 4, 2012

Winning and Nick Diaz: My opinion on someone I have never met

The following post is my opinion on someone I have never met (Nick Diaz), something I know very little about (mixed martial arts) and something I know quite a lot about (athletes and winning).

This makes me more qualified to comment than most people talking about it, so here you go. ...

In a nutshell, there was a UFC fight tonight in Las Vegas and the main event was Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit. Diaz lost on what some consider a controversial referee's decision (I wouldn't know). He then did not go to the media event afterward and reportedly said he was quitting  the UFC in protest. Whether he will actually do that or not, I also wouldn't know.

There have been a number of people criticizing Diaz for acting inappropriately after the fight by saying he was quitting, not going to the press conference. Well, I won't go so far to say YOU people are idiots, maybe you're not, I don't know you either, but what I DO know is what it is like to be an elite athlete.

Several years ago, Carlos Diaz (no relation to Nick, he is a judo referee from Venezuela and one of the very few judo referees I hold in high esteem) said about a somewhat similar situation with an athlete:

She is passionate about winning and she felt she had been wronged, so it is natural that she was emotional about it. We want athletes who care passionately about our sport. That is a good thing.

Anyone who makes it to the top of their sport cares deeply, passionately about winning. This is what we want to see in an athlete. When those athletes feel that they have been wronged, they are going to get emotional about it. That is understandable. Anyone who maintains a calm demeanor in that situation has got to have the personality of processed cheese.

Of course if you poured your heart into something and felt you got cheated you are going to be upset. Any person who doesn't feel that strongly about a sport - and about fairness - is not the kind of person who I would respect as an athlete.

As far as I know, Nick Diaz didn't punch a baby, go down to Mandalay Bay and pour poison into the Dolphin Pool or anything else mean or illegal. So, cut the guy a break.

If I were him, I would go out tonight surrounded by friends who would keep me out of trouble, drink more whiskey than I should and swear a lot. Then, after I got over the mother of all hangovers, I'd go back to training, because as another wise man once said;

At the end of the day, there's another day.

11 comments:

DSBautista13 said...

A-men. :)

Anonymous said...

totally agree with you

Enosis said...

For long time hard-core fans of MMA, there is more to the story. If this were another fighter,I don't think you would be hearing the same level of criticism. However, watching Nick for years you can see a pattern of irrational behavior. MMA fans like me that have watched champion after champion, elite athlete after elite athlete come and go have a rather large sample to compare Nick's behavior and formulate an opion....

Anonymous said...

Understandable behavior. Still, the biggest heroes are those who keep calm before and after the fight, only showing (controlled) temperament during the fight.

Look at Fedor. He's not all mouth before the fight and won't start weeping after he loses a one. And he's won some too as we all know. I'm proud to remind everyone that Fedor has been raised in a judo dojo, because even in a MMA ring he behaves more like a judoka than many elite judokas do on tatami.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

*Your* biggest heroes may be those who keep calm before and after a fight. Still, I think that is an opinion, like preferring Corona to Coors Light and not a particular good or bad thing.

As for me, I did cartwheels down the gym when I won the world championships and I cried for a week every time I lost.

It may be cultural differences, too. I noticed when I was competing that the eastern European competitors were always very stone-faced, win or lose, as were some of the Asian competitors.

Those I knew well, though, felt winning and losing very deeply, they just didn't show it.

I don't see anything particularly admirable or nor anything negative about not showing your feelings. If that is the way a person is, fine.

BUT my point is that I don't expect anyone to be that way, and even less so in American culture where being stoic or reticent is not so much the norm.

Unknown said...

Nothing wrong about feeling very emotional after a loss and it makes totally sense that one might not be quite in the mood for a press conference after a defeat.

The thing is, Diaz is a jackass who disrespect his opponents before, pending and after the fight, and even attacked an opponent at the hospital after a match because he couldn't admit he had lost.

The pot smoking jerk wants to quit after a deserved loss? Being a jerk got Nick the fights he wanted, but the price to pay is that a lot of people hate his guts and won't forgive him the slightest misstep.

It was his strategy (assuming that he is not actually that big of a jerk) and now he has to face the consequences.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

As I said, I have never met him. Some people think that if you have acted out in the past then you don't get the "pass" that we would normally give a different athlete under the same circumstances.

Maybe ...

I don't really see it that way, though.

I think it is because I always found losing SO painful that I have a lot of empathy for any elite athlete who loses a competition. As I said, for me NOT to feel that, someone would have had to do something really terrible - child molesting, bombing a synagogue - order of terrible.

Smoking pot and being a smart ass doesn't quite reach that level.

Anonymous said...

Showing emotions is great as long as we respect the opponent and behave in a polite and friendly manner. Carwheels and backflips are cool (in judo preferably after the rei), but even cooler is asking if the guy you just choked is ok and giving a friendly hug. And then you can beat him up again in the rematch. Talking s*** about opponents before and after the fight is something you do if you have problems with confidence.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

I am sure you are right that sometimes it is trying to be respectful and dignified, but not always.

Sometimes people don't talk about their opponents prior to the fight because they are afraid they'll get their ass kicked.

And sometimes people genuinely dislike their opponents and mean every word they say.

My point is that people are complicated and it is not always Quiet = Confident, good
Loud = Lack of confidence, bad

I suspect a disproportionate number of people who go into combat sports have reasons in their lives they want to hit someone, and talking out can just be another way of getting that rage out.

(Can you tell I worked with emotionally disturbed youth many years ago? )

Eliah Ballard said...

Hm you make a really good point I hadn't thought about that aspect. But did you see him during the fight? He was getting extremely worked up about his opponents defensive game plan. Even trying to provoke him into the offence by disrespecting him with a slap to the face. In the end that is what lost him the fight. As Condit's coach had probably planned he became sloppy and Condit outstriked him. All I could think when Diaz was whinging about the decision was "Sure there was no knock about but... LOOK AT YOUR FACE"

Plus as already mentioned, the Diaz brothers are so completely and utterly unlikable that people are not going to forgive a misstep like that.

Eliah Ballard said...

Hm you make a really good point I hadn't thought about that aspect. But did you see him during the fight? He was getting extremely worked up about his opponents defensive game plan. Even trying to provoke him into the offence by disrespecting him with a slap to the face. In the end that is what lost him the fight. As Condit's coach had probably planned he became sloppy and Condit outstriked him. All I could think when Diaz was whinging about the decision was "Sure there was no knock about but... LOOK AT YOUR FACE"

Plus as already mentioned, the Diaz brothers are so completely and utterly unlikable that people are not going to forgive a misstep like that.