clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Fightweets: Will Nick Diaz's arrests affect his fight with Anderson Silva?

Esther Lin

Bellator veered into rasslin' territory and aired a farce of a skit involving a masked man. The UFC welcomed Thiago Silva back into the fold. Joe Rogan bashed a hornet's nest, then tried to blame the stick. Oh, and then news surfaced that Nick Diaz was arrested for an alleged DUI, and an assortment of additional infractions in its immediate aftermath, followed by the revelation this wasn't his first such offense. Take that with all the horrible news coming forth from the NFL this week, and it's enough to make even the most avid contact sports fan want to shut off their computer for awhile and go for a hike.

But we move forward, MMA fans. There was even some non-odious news this week, from the debut of TUF 20 to hints that a longtime champion could be pondering his return. So let's get right into another edition of Fightweets tackle the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Nick Diaz's arrests and the Anderson Silva fight

@tonyclarkeh: Is this the only strike Nick Diaz will be allowed before the Anderson fight? Will it affect the fight at all?

When I heard about Diaz's Sept. 6 arrest, which was the first item that broke, I figured, it's a first-time offense, he didn't hurt anyone (even though the potential for a tragedy involving an innocent person was there), he hasn't been convicted of anything, so in the grand scheme of things, Diaz should be okay.

But the fact that this is his not only his second DUI arrest in a year, but that he also allegedly blew off his court dates for the first, certainly mitigates things.

Fight fans will forgive a lot if they want to see a particular fight badly enough. I mean, Floyd Mayweather Jr. went to jail over domestic violence -- an incident in which someone else certainly was harmed -- and remains the biggest draw in all of combat sports. I'm not in any way excusing those actions. I'm simply acknowledging the reality that a fighter with a bad-boy persona getting in trouble isn't likely to cause the public to become less interested in a major fight.

There's a chance Diaz runs into a small-town prosecutor who sees an opportunity to make his name at a celebrity's expense and throw the book at him. Diaz hasn't done himself any favors by getting arrested twice. Realistically, he probably ends up with some sort of plea bargain. My gut feeling is, so long as Diaz doesn't actually end up locked up or engaged in a lengthy trial during the time that would have been otherwise spent training for Silva, the fight will go on. There's simply too much interest and too much money on the line. All we can do now is see how this plays out.

Thiago Silva returns to the UFC

@Dr_Kwame: How do you feel about Thiago Silva being let back into the UFC but Jason High won't be reinstated?

I say this every time it comes up: Comparing Jason High's in-ring incident -- where he was let go from his UFC contract for shoving a referee -- to out-of-the-ring incidents is a case of apples and oranges. The examples of Renato "Babalu" Sobral and Paul Daley have set a pretty clear line on what is and isn't acceptable behavior inside the cage once competition is over. The only applicable comparisons in High's case are other in-cage infractions.

With that out of the way, let's go ahead and take the Silva case on its own merits: I think bringing Silva back was a bad call on the UFC's part. As numerous others have pointed out, Silva wasn't deemed innocent of the heinous charges against him. The charges were dropped because the alleged victim fled the country in apparent terror. Big difference between that and being exonerated by a jury of your peers. That should be enough to make any fight promotion not want to touch Silva with a 10-foot pole. Now throw in the fact he's flunked multiple drug tests and has middling-at-best prospects as he approaches his career backstretch, and it becomes almost impossible to figure out how bringing him back was a good idea.

Return of GSP?

@RuckerYeah: GSP obviously deserves a title shot, right?

The only circumstance under which Georges St-Pierre shouldn't get an immediate title shot upon return to the UFC is if he personally requests a tuneup fight first.

If he doesn't? Then an immediate title fight is an absolute no-brainer. This isn't like Anderson Silva's return, where he lost twice to the current champ and got horrifically hurt in the process. This is a guy who has just one fluke loss since 2004 and who vacated the title on a 12-fight win streak (granted, I scored the last one for Johny Hendricks, but the fight was close). If anyone has earned the auto-title shot, it's GSP. I get it, Dana White gets it, and Hendricks himself gets it, as he told me in a piece I did for Yahoo a couple months back, "you want to show your respect for everything Georges has accomplished in this sport. He's earned his spot." He's already earned the shot on his merits. The fact that his return will just about break the pay-per-view meter, well, I mean, there hasn't been anything in this sport this obvious business-wise since Brock Lesnar started showing up in main events.

Just speculation?

@TokoBali2: Are there really signs GSP will make his return, or does speculation about it just work well as the Never-Ending story?

Well, considering that the page views from the word that GSP would get a title shot upon a theoretical return blew the roof off this joint, there's clearly never-ending clicks to be had in speculating on whether GSP will return. But at the same time, I mean, Firas Zahabi has one of the best reputations in the fight biz for a reason. He's not going to throw out the idea that his gut feeling is that GSP will return just for laughs, or simply to see his own name in the headlines. If Zahabi is offering up the idea of a potential GSP comeback, then there must be some smoke, if not quite a raging fire.

Jones, Rogan, etc.

@daviddyurko: Is my friend racist for not liking Jon Jones?

Your friend might or might not be racist, but I'm not sure Jones has anything to do with it. There are a wide variety of reasons people choose to like or dislike Jon Jones. Disliking Jon Jones does not automatically make you a racist, but we'd be naive to claim there aren't racist fans out there.

As for Rogan's comments which started all this, he did what he's done every time his words have gotten him into hot water -- like when he called my colleague Maggie Hendricks "c---y," or when he doubled down to defend his then-habitual usage of a gay slur -- he tried to blame the messenger, then engaged in the sort of semantic hair-splitting most often seen from teenagers trying to talk their way out of getting punished by their parents. At some point, if you really believe your words are getting confused this often, maybe it becomes time to more carefully pick your words.

Michael Bisping vs. Luke Rockhold

@BigJuice19: Bisping back in title contention if he gets passed Rockhold?

That's a huge "if," but yes, Michael Bisping beats Luke Rockhold in November he's right back in the mix.

I would have preferred to see Rockhold against Lyoto Machida. Rockhold is on the short list of middleweight title contenders. A win over Machida would have gotten him there. Bisping, meanwhile, is 35, had eye surgery, looked terrible in his loss to Tim Kennedy, and beat a 42-year old who hadn't fought in nearly two years in Cung Le.

With the card airing Fight Pass and being held halfway around the world, this becomes an all-downside fight for Rockhold. The absolute best that comes out of this is that he flattens Bisping and simply maintains his status in the pecking order. He won't move up, not after the way Jacare just smoked Gegard Mousasi and not with Machida will still ahead of him. If Bisping wins, same situation, but you've also killed off Rockhold in the process. So yeah. I'm not going to deny it will be a fun grudge match, but it also puts a legit contender on hold with no real upside.

Bellator and masked men

@cyder45: Is bellator becoming the wcw of mma? Where washed up fighters go for inflated paycheques?

Well, the company's certainly at a crossroad. For all the valid criticism you can make about Bellator's approach under Bjorn Rebney, his system produced a ton of young prospects. Unfortunately, that system also prevented any of them from really breaking through and becoming real starts. It's clear that Viacom feels that they need fighters with star power to draw television ratings, and television execs are going to be most comfortable with the names who have already proven to draw ratings on their own network.

But there's an art to this. You also have to use those established stars to give the next generation the rub and create new stars. Last week, Patricio Friere finally broke through and defeated Pat Curran to win the Bellator featherweight title in one solid main event of a fight. But the only thing that stuck with the masses was the whole Stephan Bonnar/Justin McCully/Tito Ortiz farce. It sort of reminded me how the people talked about James Thompson's exploding ear the day after his fight with Kimbo Slice in 2008, and not the Robbie Lawler-Scott Smith slugfest or Gina Carano's fight on the same card. And while that might make for big short term headlines, EliteXC can tell you where turning your product into a three-ring circus leads you in the long run. Oh, and speaking of EliteXC ...

Kimbo vs. Tank

@The_Bulldog: How long until Kimbo and Tank finally duke it out?

Oh, they already did, my friend. It was provided to us, of course, by the late, lamented EliteXC, our to-go place for freakshows which bridged the gap between PRIDE's occasional spectacles and the Masked McCully. And it was everything you'd want: A first flurry which ended with Kimbo raining punches down on the back of Tank's head; a stoppage for a dropped mouthpiece, to which Kimbo responded by chucking said mouthpiece into the crowd; and finally, a big right hand to the jaw, which caused Tank to face-plant and decide to take his paycheck and go home. All this in about a minute. Gone but never forgotten, EliteXC.

The other path

@AndreHill48: Do fighters like Marlon Moraes in their prime really test their full potential when not employed by UFC?

I think there are two ways of looking at it. First off, it's not like the UFC was knocking down Moraes' door a couple years ago. He saw an opportunity with WSOF, he's making a nice paycheck, he gets featured on national television, and he gets his proper due as an exciting fighter.

Would his career be where it is now if he had spent the last couple years slogging through a crowded UFC roster on Facebook/Fight Pass prelims and working his way up? Tough to say. I mean, Raphael Assuncao, who is in his weight class, has been kicking around Zuffa since 2009, and he's just now this year entered title-shot consideration territory in a less-than-stacked division. If anything, making your name outside the UFC can be your opportunity to jump the line when you join the company -- assuming your current boss doesn't threaten to derail your progress with legal hurdles -- and that could be what Moraes is doing here.

TUF talk

@Davei_Boi: What could have been the downfall of the rating of the 1st episode of TUF 20?

Good question. It's not like the less-than-spectacular rating for the TUF 20 premiere was due to a lack of effort. The UFC and FOX pulled out all the stops to build the hype for this one. Critics who have sneered at TUF for several years are giving the current season thumbs up. The UFC used to use Fight Nights as lead-ins to TUF premieres, and while I don't have the numbers over the years, maybe decoupling the two has hurt the premiere's ratings. Maybe the TUF brand is simply played out to all but the UFC's core fan base.

My gut feeling, though, is that the ratings will build over the course of the season. The fighters are too good, the personalities are too interesting, and the stakes are too real.


@MayorMayz: When will Dana White be forced out for incompetence?

If taking a company from near-death, banned from cable and $44M in the hole to a big-money network television deal and fight cards on five continents in a calendar year is "incompetence," then there are very likely stockholders all over the country who would love to have such incompetent leadership.

Got a question for a future edition of Fightweets? Got to my Twitter page and leave me a tweet.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting