LAS VEGAS -- It’s a simple question with a potentially very complex answer: Is Nick Diaz crazy?
The UFC welterweight must be hearing from select groups of fans that he is -- and one can see how the rumor started. He has skipped news conferences in the past. His own trainer, Cesar Gracie, once informed UFC president Dana White that Diaz snuck out of the window in his house just to escape the situation.
He’s known for giving awkward, at times off-topic interviews. Apparently, despite being pulled from a main event last year after he was deemed too unreliable by UFC brass, he still managed to miss three flights to Las Vegas for this weekend’s fight, according to White.
To Diaz, however, he’s not crazy -- the situation is. He’s here to fight. What’s crazy is before he has to fight, he has to sit at a table and answer questions from media. He has to get in the same room as his opponent and take pictures with him. He has to sit in front of a camera and try to figure out exactly what the UFC wants him to say.
“I’m just being realistic,” Diaz said. “People want to say, ‘Oh, Nick Diaz is crazy.’ I’m like, hey bro, what you see is what you get. I’m not out here trying to put on an act like I’m crazy.
“In my mind, [other fighters] are the ones who are crazy. They’re the ones putting on an act, doing what they’re told in front of the camera. The camera gives them a line and they say it 10 times. They turn these guys into robots. I’m not going to be that guy.”
During the UFC 143 prefight news conference Thursday, a fan in the audience asked Diaz what he meant when he said you need to love mixed martial arts so much, you hate it during a promotional video.
Diaz, seeming disinterested in the question, stared ahead for a few moments before answering, ‘That pretty much says it all, what I said is what I meant.”
It wasn’t exactly a memorable moment; however, the UFC President felt it illustrates why Diaz is viewed the way he is. More so than any fighter in the promotion, Diaz is a guy who doesn’t want to talk about what he does, even with a fan.
“This kid is fascinating,” White said. “You ask him a question he knows the answer to, 'but f--- you. Figure the f---ing answer out yourself. That’s how he thinks. ‘I don’t give a s--- what you think. I’m here to fight. It’s almost like he even hates [the UFC].”
While Diaz believes he’s the most ‘real’ fighter in the UFC, a potential opponent of his tends to disagree. For welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, Diaz isn’t real and he isn’t crazy.
He’s putting on an act, trying to intimidate.
“Nick is not crazy,” St. Pierre said. “Nick is a very smart guy. He hast to intimidate people. He’s like a school bully. I remember people bullying me in school; they tried to make me believe they killed people.
“I don’t buy this thing that he’s crazy.”
White on Overeem: 'I don’t think he’s in that much trouble'
News broke this week that top heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem has been charged with misdemeanor battery, stemming from an incident in a Las Vegas nightclub.
Overeem, who defeated Brock Lesnar at UFC 141 in Las Vegas on Dec. 31, was not arrested during the incident but faces a maximum penalty of six months in country jail for allegedly shoving a woman.
The UFC president said Thursday he does not believe the issue will affect Overeem long-term and does not anticipate it interfering with pairing the Dutch fighter against champion Junior dos Santos as planned.
“He had to use the restroom, this is my knowledge of what happened,” White said. “Security was going to take him but he said, ‘I don’t need security.’ Sure enough, he goes over there and his side of the story is some lady started yelling and swinging at him.
“I don’t think he’s in that much trouble. This isn’t a situation where he beat somebody up.”
Hendo waiting on title shot, unclear if Diaz/Condit winner will
“Dan Henderson is in a position now where it looks like he wants to wait for Jon Jones,” White said. “We’ll see what happens with this Rashad fight.”
The 41-year-old fighter made a successful return to the UFC from Strikeforce in November, outlasting Mauricio Rua in a five-round decision, which many felt was the fight of the year.
While that situation has cleared up, it’s currently unknown whether the winner of Saturday’s interim welterweight championship between Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit would defend that belt or wait for the return of Georges St. Pierre.
St. Pierre is currently ahead of schedule after undergoing knee surgery and expects a return to the Octagon in November.
“It depends on what happens [Saturday],” White said. “Which guy wins, how he comes out of the fight, how he feels after, does he want to wait -- there are so many different factors, so who knows?”