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Cesar Gracie: Nick Diaz wants to be respected as a martial artist and not portrayed as a ‘bad guy’

According to Cesar Gracie, Nick Diaz was only trying to express his desire to be respected as a martial artist during last week's UFC 158 media conference call, and not be portrayed as a "bad guy" as he has been during the promotion ahead of his title fight against Georges St. Pierre.

Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

Last week's UFC 158 media conference call featuring Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre and Nick Diaz quickly turned into a profanity-laced verbal assault from the Stockton slugger aimed directly at "GSP," calling him a "pampered" fighter who can't live his own life.

That very display of heated aggression from the former 170-pound Strikeforce champion is one of the reasons many in the fight business have labeled him a "bad boy." Well, that and his history of in-cage brawls and opting to do what he pleases when he pleases, like not show up to scheduled press conferences.

In fact, according to UFC President Dana White, Diaz's bad boy attitude got him the title fight against "Rush" because as White declared during the UFC 137 post-fight press conference, St. Pierre asked for the bout after he "flipped out" when Diaz stated that the French-Canadian was "scared" to fight him, which led to "GSP" calling Diaz "the most disrespectful person" he's ever met who "deserves to get beat down."

According to Cesar Gracie, Nick's head trainer, that is one of the reason's Diaz was so irate during the conference call, because popular belief is he's only getting the shot because of the "bad boy" he is being portrayed as, rather than for being a true martial artist, which is what Nick was trying to express during the heated call.

As Gracie recently said on his appearance on "The MMA Hour," Nick just expresses himself differently than most:

"I know these guys are great mixed martial artists, and I think that's the point Nick was trying to make. He deserves this fight as a martial artist and that's very important to him. And, a lot of people, Nick expresses himself a little bit differently than some, so, it's kind of hard to follow if you're not used to that. But I think what he's trying to say is that he should be respected as a martial artist and so forth and that's why he's actually going to be in this fight. It's not because of way he portrayed him as a bad guy in these videos as he was portrayed to hype the fight up. I think he wasn't too pleased with that. So I really don't think he was trying to put GSP down. He was trying to clarify himself. But, you know, like I said, Nick expresses himself a little bit differently, and then you've got GSP whose English is not a first language, so it became kind of funny as it spiraled out of control a little bit, and these guys started to get angry a little bit."

There is no questioning Diaz is a true martial artist.

The Stockton slugger has put in his work inside the cage, putting together his all-around fight game nicely with his unrivaled-boxing which looks harmless at first glance, but can leave his opponents face battered and bruised at fight's end.

He can also do damage on the ground, utilizing his jiu-jitsu black belt nicely when needed, submitting his opponents when his stand-up game doesn't do the job.

And on March 16, 2013, Diaz plans on proving he is a true martial artist by showing that his fighting skills earned him the right to face St. Pierre at UFC 158, as opposed to his "bad boy" persona.

A win over the best welterweight in the world will prove just that.

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