Sure, the guy gets frustrated with journalists who ask petty questions, but Nick Diaz is the last guy to pull his punches when it comes to telling it like it is. When someone like Ariel Helwani asks him, “How are you feeling leading up to this fight?” he fires back right to the jaw by saying, “I wasn’t going to do this interview, but they told me I had to.”
There it is, plain and simple. His economy of words was super efficient. You could easily suggest that what he basically told Helwani was that he doesn’t appreciate a personal question, the answer to which is really nobody’s business. Furthermore, he doesn’t feel that prying interviews add any value to the purity of combat and that he would rather be left alone until it is time to get into the cage.
In the same interview, Helwani continued his trite inquisition with, “Do you not like me, Nick?” Diaz said to him quite frankly, “I think you instigate fights a lot … where I come from people like that get slapped.” Helwani should have taken the hint and quit right there, but he did not relent and got swatted with this quip from Diaz. “You’re the only one who started any (expletive) talking about this fight … you’re saying I made these statements to him and all I’m saying is that I hope he don’t hit me with a cheap shot.” This was another example of his economy of words. What he most likely meant was that Helwani and journalists in general stir up controversy for the sake of ratings and he clearly does not appreciate it.
If you are disgusted by athletes who give lip service to the media in hopes of painting themselves as something they are not, tune into a Diaz interview for a refreshing dose of honesty. He will occasionally apply his sparring skills to a line of questioning by giving vague answers to dull questions just for the sake of making the interviewer squirm.
If this sort of tension tickles your funny bone, there’s nothing quite like it when Diaz begins an answer to a juicy question and then simply trails off mid-sentence, looking away and just sort of mumbling. Making interviewers uncomfortable is almost like an art form to the guy, and he is becoming quite the master.
Another form of communication he has mastered is the art of the perplexing comment. Diaz in obviously a very intelligent man, and when he wants to, he can take a lowbrow line of questioning and direct the subject matter so that he can make definitive statements that have an almost Zen-like quality.
Sentences like, “In order to love fighting I have to hate it,” “I feel like I get paid way too much but not enough,” and “I’m going to do what I have to do to survive, to keep my teeth in my head and my head on my shoulders,” hint at a mindset as deft and sharp as the physicality of the man inside it.
In yet another interview with Hilwani , Diaz explain his outlook a bit more — “It’s not my job to let people know who I am or how I am. I’ve felt like my job is to go out there and put on a good show to have amazing fights to give it an amazing effort and hope people can recognize this sort of thing and maybe they will … want to see more.”
When discussing the violent verbiage of some fighters he explains, “People say they want to hurt somebody … why would you want to hurt somebody? What’s wrong with you, man? I’m not here to hurt people.” This kind of talk makes it clear that Diaz is an athlete who is simply here to fight, not to blabber about meaningless details.
Ironically, the one place Diaz is not tight-lipped is inside the cage. He is arguably the most talkative fighter out there, getting into people’s heads and wearing them down mentally as he chips away at them physically. Perhaps his famous cage-banter phrase “C’mon man, hit me!” says all you to know about Diaz.