“We’re throwing spinning shit now?”—Nick Diaz
The conclusion of the battle between Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit at UFC 143 for the interim welterweight championship drew a line in the sand between both camps’ vocal fan bases. It was cat people versus dog people, original Star Wars trilogy fans versus prequel Star Wars fans, democrats and republicans. On one side, fight pundits who believed that Diaz’s chasing after Condit and trash talking wasn’t enough for him to earn the win. On the other side, Stockton diehards who decried Condit’s failure to engage in a dog fight was enough to warrant a loss.
Diaz is a goldmine for quotes. He says what he means and (in his mind) he means what he says. However, when Diaz barked at Condit in mid-fight for attempting a spinning back-fist, he added a taunt for the ages. Hear Condit talk about the taunting here.
Diaz walked through Condit’s spinning back-fist and continued to bait Condit into fighting his fight. The taunt, however, fell on deaf ears within the cage as Condit refused to be trapped. Condit’s attack was calculated and measured, and when he found himself against the cage, he circled back out and took the center, forcing Diaz to engage on Condit’s terms. Frustrated by Condit’s gameplan and the judges’ decision to award the interim championship to Condit, Diaz announced his retirement in the cage in a post-fight interview with Joe Rogan (luckily for fight fans, he was later coaxed out of retirement).
For Diaz, the pre-fight trash talk isn’t trash talk. It’s his opinion. It just happens to be a juicy enough molehill of opinion for writers to jump all over and build mountains. Even during the fight, Diaz isn’t trash talking as much as he’s just voicing his own internal narrative. There is something refreshing about that kind of honesty and non-canned response. It’s driven by passion, and while you can argue about the timing of taking a verbal jab at one’s opponent in the middle of a fight, Diaz is one of the few competitors who can pull it off.
ADDENDUM: This was supposed to have been posted for tomorrow; however, the mighty Mike Chiapetta over on the Fox Sports site used this same example in a wonderful piece over the art of trash-talking. The timing seemed apropos. Go read it now.