Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz has a reputation as being one of the sports quintessential ‘bad boys’. That image was only enhanced recently when he became involved in the now infamous brawl at Strikeforce: Nashville in April which occurred during a live broadcast on network television.

Diaz team-mate Jake Shields has revealed a different side to the stockton native’s character though in a new interview with the FiveKnuckles website.

“People always see Nick acting crazy, you know, flipping people off. But, that’s his way of psyching himself up to fight. People don’t understand. It’s not easy to get in there and go fight someone in a cage, and that’s kind of his way of dealing with it. But he’s got this reputation, and it’s really not deserved. Everyone always meets Nick and they’re surprised at how nice he is outside the cage.

He’ll spend more time with white belts than anyone I know. He’ll be there for hours after training helping white belts out with their technique. And he doesn’t get anything out of it, it’s just he’s a helpful guy and he wants to help people get better. It’s not very often that you’ll see a professional athlete spending hours and hours of his personal time just to help people get better. And not for any gain, just to help people succeed. When was the last time you saw a professional basketball player or football player spending hours and hours of their personal time just to help other regular guys get better?”

Is Shield’s right? We decided to gather up evidence of his good side and his bad side, and let you be the judge.

Let’s start off by reminding ourselves how Diaz earnt his bad boy reputation. First off we’ve got to mention his legendary mean-mugging. Check out the pictures below to see what we’re dealing with.

It’s not easy looking this mean though, it takes hours of work in the gym to get it looking just right. Here he is with his trainer perfecting the pose…

The truth though is that even as a kid growing up both Nick and his brother Nate were well on their way to mastering the mean mug…

In case you were thinking that was just a bad photo and they can’t possibly have been like that back then, how about this photo from elementary school. Yep, that’s Nick in the back row clenching his fist.

It goes further back than that though. Here’s the Diaz brothers sending out a message to all the haters whilst they were still in diapers.

…ok, so maybe those two baby photos aren’t really them…although I’m not completely willing to dismiss the possibility. Let’s face it, it does fit their M.O.

Moving beyond mere mean-muggery there’s also Diaz drug use to consider.

Despite Marijuana being a banned substance in MMA, Diaz has never hid the fact that he likes to gets high on his own supply. In fact he once tested positive for weed after a fight with Takanori Gomi in PRIDE back in 2007, causing his win to be amended to a no-contest.

Undeterred Diaz has continued to get his smoke on, and in fact was actually heard taking hits from a bong during a Strikeforce conference call.  During an interview with the L.A Times before his fight with Frank Shamrock he described how he would beat the California State Athletic Commissions tests prior to the bout.

“I’m more consistent about everything being a cannabis user. I’m happy to get loaded, hear some good music . . . I remain consistent. And I have an easy way to deal with [the drug tests].

“I can pass a drug test in eight days with herbal cleansers. I drink 10 pounds of water and sweat out 10 pounds of water every day. I’ll be fine.”

With that comment Diaz was in essence sticking his finger up at the commission…how appropriate!

What really gives Nick his bad boy persona however is that essentially trouble seems to follow him wherever he goes.

Take the brawl that erupted with KJ Noons at an Elite XC event in 2007 for instance. It’s hard to make out in the clip below but it’s worth noting two things about it:

  1. Diaz flips the bird to Noons just moments before the commotion occurs.
  2. He starts fighting with Noons 67 year-old father.

And of course there’s the recent brawl at Strikeforce: Nashville in which Diaz took exception to Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller interrupting Jake Shields post-fight interview, and quickly found himself igniting another riot in the cage.

If you were in any doubt about who threw the first punch then this picture should clear it up for you.

His ability to spontaneously create fights doesn’t end in the cage though. He’ll basically get into it anywhere – even if it’s during a visit to the hospital. After a fight with Joe Riggs in the UFC back in 2006 the story goes that the two men both required treatment, and ended up bumping into each other in the ER room and immediately started talking smack.

Here’s Rigg’s description of what happened next.

“He starts coming up to me. I just never in a million years thought he’d throw a punch. He threw a right hook and hit me right in the chin. I mean it hit me right on the button. I seriously can’t say that I was knocked out, but I kind of went down to a knee.”

Riggs adds that, “I had an IV going. My blood was spraying everywhere. It was like a horror movie,” and finishes by saying, “Nick Diaz is legitimately nuts. He’s crazy.”

That’s an assessment that even Nick’s brother Nate Diaz doesn’t entirely disagree with. In an interview with Fight! Magazine he noted, ” “He’s serious about everything. I guess he’s crazy. With Nick, it ain’t no act. That’s who he is. And he don’t take shit from anybody.

So it’s fair to say that Diaz reputation is well earned. What about this nicer side of Diaz that Jake Shields is talking about though? Is there any evidence that it exists?

After doing some digging around I believe it might. For instance, check out this rare picture below of Diaz turning that frown upside down.

Is it a coincidence that Gina Carano happens to be standing next to him at the time? – I think not.

It’s not just a one off either. Here’s our man looking like a cool dude in a loose mood with UFC President Dana White.

If that wasn’t enough, check out this video of Diaz actually engaging in normal civil conversation with members of the public without causing a public disorder. Will wonders never cease?

And we’ve even tracked down footage of Diaz doing just what Shield’s says he does – sticking around to help teach students in the gym how to beat up other people.

So there you have it, maybe there’s more than meets the eye to Nick after all.  Truth be told though, whether you love him or hate him, I have a sneaky suspicion that he probably doesn’t give a rats ass.

Article By RossC

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