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It’s good to have Nate Diaz back, if only for a few minutes

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It’s good to have Nate Diaz back. After two years away he showed up to the UFC’s special 25th Anniversary press conference late, even if the press conference started half an hour later than scheduled. When he walked on the stage, UFC president Dana White made Diaz’s recently named opponent Dustin Poirier stand up and do a face off, just like all the other star pairings on the stage had to. It was straight gooseflesh seeing him in fight pose again. And Diaz looked huge. He was like a mantis from Stockton, all length and shadow, his arms these great growing vines that began to slowly extend towards November in New York.

Freaking Nate Diaz, man. The Stockton Slap. #What!

But of course, the happy homecoming lasted maybe 20 minutes. Not that anyone expected his contentment to go on forever. As soon as the UFC cued a video promo to announce Conor McGregor’s fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov for Oct. 6 — a surprise end to the press conference — Diaz took off. He got the hell out of there. Cowboy Cerrone was craning his neck, but Diaz had to get. It was an urge, not unlike the time he left the stage ahead of his second fight with McGregor (which resulted in the memorable Water Bottle Incident). When somebody is subtweeting you via a giant projection screen, you don’t stick around. You get the white tennies headed for the exits.

What he said when the guerilla cameras found him roaming outside the Orpheum was, “Fuk the UFC. Fuk all this shit.” What he tweeted to the world was, “I’m not fighting on that show fuk the @ufc”. Nate Diaz doesn’t need no UFC upstaging his own comeback with the comeback of that Irish fellow that he dusted once (or twice) already, and he certainly doesn’t need his own lawsuit being overshadowed by Conor’s more privileged lawsuits. That’s other-level gripe that only a cat like Diaz has in his arsenal — perhaps that only a cat like Diaz is smart enough to be bothered by. The dueling lawsuits are a metaphor for all the wrongdoings, all the lack of respect, but also a b*tch-ass look at the way things are handled. How is the UFC not going to tell the truth about him not being eligible to fight until about a month ago — make him look like he’s dodging fights — yet publicize McGregor’s time away as an excused absence until he gets the Dolly Thing cleared up?

Such hypocrisy in broad daylight, and an adoring public who can’t tell the difference. No man, no, that shit ain’t right. There’s a reason his brother talks about the wolf tickets. Diaz ain’t trying to be part of no hypocrisy, and them principles are still well intact from last time we saw him. Diaz walked off towards wherever the hell he was going, because he would rather be wherever there was than in the sea of skewed narratives. Dana isn’t playing straight. He doesn’t need that.

But, then again — damnit — he does need it, too, and he’ll tell you, because that’s what Nate do. “I’m sick of not fighting, I’m sitting here going crazy, so let’s pay this lawsuit and get the fuk at it,” he said. He was talking about the lawsuit that he could have paid off if the UFC had wanted him back sooner. He was talking about some behind-the-scenes stuff that’s been gnawing at his gut, and that video of McGregor-Khabib just dredged it all back up with a quickness. Where the UFC sees a halo with McGregor, it sees a hubcap with Diaz. Fuk that.

Fuk that fuk that fuk that.

We had him for a minute. Diaz was down to fight Poirier but now he’s not so sure. What is bothering Diaz now is the same thing that has always bothered Diaz — the lack of respect. That and the omission of full truths. Diaz spits the truth. A version of it anyway. It’s the truths that make him antsy. Worse, he sees a red carpet under McGregor’s feet, while feeling machine gun fire being aimed at his own. Diaz isn’t afraid to tell you about entitlement, and he’s not above letting you know he’s been spurned. He’s more defensive out of the ring than in it, everyone knows that — it’s what endears him to the public. Diaz is Diaz, eternally being subjected to the stepchild treatment. It was McGregor that had taken everything he ever worked for (motherf*cker), and now it’s the UFC straight preferentiating.

Fuk that.

“That’s what I’m saying about the under promotion of this company,” he said, as he began his stroll away from there. “They’re bad mouthing me and saying I’m turning down fights all the time when I never turned down a fight in my life. And they’re backing the other guy when he has a lawsuit, but now I’ve got a lawsuit and I’m turning down fights. Fuk the UFC.”

He means it, but he doesn’t. He might not. He’ll probably be there at Madison Square Garden come Nov. 3. He’ll fight Poirier. He has to. The UFC might have brought him to the press conference late, but they’ll have him there in Manhattan ready to do war with Poirier. It can’t go on running McGregor promos forever, and even if they do he’ll use it to tighten the scowl on his face. He’ll be ready to use Poirier as a whipping post. One of a kind Nate Diaz is back. He’s mostly back. He was there a minute, then he wasn’t. He’s shifty that way, real wait and see. But he’s back.

And it was good seeing him there, if even for a few minutes.

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