Growing up, I was a huge fan of Guns N' Roses, and, in particular, its frontman Axl Rose.
He was a rock star in every sense of the word. Sure, the label was easy to slap on since he was in one of the biggest bands on the planet, but he also had beautiful models on one arm, a bottle of whiskey in the other hand and he always did and said whatever he wanted whenever he wanted.
I mean, the guy's actions -- or inaction in the case of Montreal -- started two city-wide riots during GNR's heyday.
There's something so appealing about someone who simply doesn't care what others think of them. Someone who is not preoccupied with how what they're doing will make them look to others, but are just more concerned with actually doing it.
It's the same reason Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight contender Nick Diaz has become such a polarizing figure.
Those who cheer on the Stockton, Calif., native really cheer him on, while those who hate him won't mince words about how they truly feel about UFC 143's main eventer. Tonight (Feb. 4, 2012) at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, he steps inside the Octagon against Carlos Condit to decide an interim welterweight champion. It promises to be a war, the kind of fight where Diaz excels.
But, he's not just a whirlwind of aggression inside the cage -- he's one outside of it, too. A quick rundown of Diaz's craziest extracurricular activities follows after the jump.
5. "Please excuse Nick Diaz from fighting as he has been very high."
In August 2009, Diaz was set to take on Joe Riggs in a rematch of their controversial (more on that later) UFC 57 bout. Riggs pulled out and Jay Hieron stepped in to challenge Diaz for the vacant welterweight title. The fight never happened because Diaz skipped a pre-fight drug test. Reason being, Diaz is a card-carrying medicinal marijuana user in California and a handshake agreement with the former head of the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) kept the Stockton fighter from having to take random piss tests.
When new management at the CSAC took over, it attempted to get Diaz in before his fight with Hieron. Since Diaz wasn't expecting the test, it can be assumed his urine would have been more smoke than liquid at that point. His manager and trainer Cesar Gracie explained it pretty well, saying they'd rather skip the test and pull out of the fight than assuredly getting popped for THC and being handed a possible one-year suspension.
What's craziest is this isn't even the first time pot has played a significant role in Diaz's career. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
4. Screw fighting during the time limits!
Axl Rose helped start two riots; Nick Diaz helped start two post-fight brawls. The most famous of which was of course the infamous "Nashville Brawl" involving Jason Miller and Cesar Gracie teammate Jake Shields. The "Bully Beatdown" host crashed the post-fight proceedings and asked Shields for a rematch, an action which Diaz, younger brother Nate and Gilbert Melendez didn't take too kindly to. The ensuing scuffle put a black eye on the sport or whatever, I'm told.
But even before that, an incident at Elite XC's "Return of the King" event took place hundreds of miles away in Hawaii. K.J. Noons had just defended his lightweight title -- which he had won by beating Diaz via doctor stoppage months prior -- and EliteXC officials wanted the Stockton bad boy to step inside the cage for a faceoff to promote a rematch. The two did their thing and all was going to plan until Noons' proud papa -- drunk according to Diaz -- decide to 'bow up to Dem Diaz Boys. Nate tossed a water bottle at the elder Noons and a fracas broke out.
Is there anywhere Nick Diaz wouldn't fight?
3. Heck, screw fighting inside a cage!
The answer is no.
Following the aforementioned fight with Riggs -- a losing effort for Diaz -- the two were taken to a local hospital to tend to their respective wounds. It seemed Diaz wasn't content with three rounds worth of action and was itching for a little bit more.
He continued to trash talk his opponent until eventually hitting Riggs with what "Diesel" referred to as a "sucker punch." The two immediately began to brawl -- with Riggs even ... ahem, soiling himself -- before the fight was broken up.
Fighting in a hospital? That's pretty thug, I have to admit.
2. UFC title shot? Only if you show up for a "beauty pageant"
When it was announced Diaz would challenge Georges St. Pierre at UFC 137, it was due in part to the fact Diaz had only lost one fight in the previous five years and was the reigning Strikeforce welterweight champ. Add in St. Pierre's sometimes robotic and milquetoast fight promotion -- "Dis is my toughest challenge, I respect 'im very much" -- and a powder keg like Diaz was exactly what the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) needed in a weight class that was rapidly becoming stagnant.
The thing about gunpowder -- or someone like Diaz -- is it's sometime too volatile to handle. And when the challenger skipped out on a handful of flights and missed two press conferences, Dana White learned that lesson the hard way.
Diaz wasn't seen as a worthy challenger for the welterweight strap by some and they felt it was his outlandish behavior that earned him the title shot. If that's true, the same behavior cost him the bout as well. He was pulled from the main event and replaced with Carlos Condit and in typical 209 fashion, posted a YouTube video -- shot from his car as he battled northern California traffic -- decrying the decision and sarcastically apologizing for "being a fighter" and not showing up for the "beauty pageant."
He was immediately booked against Condit's old opponent, B.J. Penn, and fate intervened when "Rush" bowed out, making Diaz's new fight the main event for UFC 137.
1. The biggest win of his career ... up in smoke
Pardon the silly pun but it very well could be the most accurate way to describe the situation.
After Diaz willingly walked away from the UFC in late 2006, he was hired on by Pride Fighting Championships (Pride) to take on their lightweight champion Takanori Gomi in a non-title bout during their first venture in the United States. Diaz had never fought at 161-pounds before but the match-ups in Pride were sometimes less about sport and more about spectacle.
The fight itself was remarkable. The Stockton native weathered Gomi's storm -- suffering a broken orbital bone in the process -- and won the fight in the second round via the statistically improbable gogoplata submission.
Six weeks later, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) announced Diaz had tested positive for an obscene level of THC and the result of the bout would have to be changed. Their rationale was wonky at best: Diaz was so high he was numb to the pain inflicted on him by his Japanese opponent. The NSAC overturned the win and it now sits on his official record as a "No Contest."
But we all know better.
Will Diaz provide a moment on Saturday we can add to this list? His detractors certainly hope not. His proponents on the other hand would love nothing more.