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Emotional Nick Diaz recounts 'f*cked up' childhood, including girlfriend's suicide, that motivated him to invest 'everything in my fight life'

What does Nick Diaz think of Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC)?

"I was glad to know they were the ignorant ones, it makes me laugh," Diaz told "All these smart people punking me and oppressing me at the table and they didn't want me to say anything during the hearing but fuck that, I'm a fighter, I fight over anything. That's what I do."

Except that wasn't from his disciplinary hearing last Monday (Sept. 14, 2015) in Las Vegas, when the commission shocked the mixed martial arts (MMA) community with a five-year ban from mixed martial arts (MMA) competition (full report here).

No, that was from his day of judgment way back in 2007, when NSAC overturned his sensational submission win (gogoplata) over Takanori Gomi to a "no contest" after the Stockton slugger failed his PRIDE 33 drug test for -- you guessed it -- marijuana.

Diaz would fail two more drug tests in the years that followed.

The second came after UFC 143 in 2012, a controversial decision loss to Carlos Condit, which left him suspended for one year (and a little lighter in the pocket). Just two fights later, the green monster reared its ugly head for a third time at the UFC 183 pay-per-view (PPV) last January.

One that also felled middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

Despite a fairly credible case from his high-priced attorneys, Diaz was suspended five years and fined a whopping $165,000. Considering the commission recently rubber-stamped new sentencing guidelines -- which has a third offense maxing out at three years -- Monday's five-spot reeks of personal vendetta.

I think it's pretty clear that NSAC doesn't like Diaz or his anti-establishment shtick.

But is it shtick?

These days, the "bad boy" persona is worn like one of those old Greek theater masks. Fighters put them on when they need to covey drama to the audience, then hang them back up after their respective performances, which is why so many (cough) "bitter rivals" exchange wet, sloppy kisses after the big fight.

"I respect you as a man and a fighter," John Dodson recently said in defeat to Demetrious Johnson. "But you know, we have to hype this shit up."

The combat sports community may not be able to discern what's real or what's manufactured at this stage of the game, and newer fans probably weren't around when Diaz was putting the entire UFC welterweight division on blast.

"They're all pussies," Diaz said when UFC it-boy Conor McGregor was just a 20-year-old Irish kid throwing hands in Dublin.

"Fuck every single one of them."

This isn't an act, or a marketing strategy designed to boost PPV buys. This, as UFC once said in its taglines, is as real as it gets.

Perhaps a little too real for the "dorks" at NSAC.

That doesn't mean that everyone is lining up to buy #FREENICKDIAZ t-shirts. The argument has been made that Diaz wouldn't be in this position if he chose to play by the rules. But it doesn't sound like the former Strikeforce champ knows how, because all he's ever done from day one is fight.

"I invested everything in my fight life," Diaz told MMA Fighting. "That's why I come off the way I do and always have."

"Every other fighter has a life on the side," he continued. "I've never had another job. I didn't graduate eighth grade. I could have, but I got into too many fights in middle school. I was moved from school to school, put on drugs and made fun of by classmates because after being disruptive in class the teachers would always tell the other kids I was on meds and sometimes don't take them."

Then, long before Diaz had his first professional MMA fight, his childhood sweetheart committed suicide.

"After that, I was grown up. It was all over. I wasn't a kid anymore," Diaz said. "I won my first fight in the first round with a choke and all I could think about was her, just like when I was in school. I would run seven miles and back to her grave just to promise her I would make it as a fighter like she knew and had told me she knew and was proud of me."

I'm sure she was beaming on this chilly night in Miami.

Diaz is now 32 and has been competing for 15 years, sporting a pro record of 26-9 (2 NC). Along the way, he's done the only thing he knows how: fight. Sometimes it happens during a sanctioned bout, sometimes it doesn't. But you don't have to comb the archives to find obscure examples of shit getting real.

You just have to be patient.

That EliteXC brawl with KJ Noons and his dad? Yep, that was Diaz. The Strikeforce melee in Nashville? Uh huh. The World Series of Fighting brawl-for-all in Las Vegas?

Front and center, bitchez.

Fighting is the only thing Diaz was ever good at, so he used that talent to earn a respectable living (and entertain us in the process). That living has now been jeopardized because NSAC doesn't want real fighters, it wants athletes who can stick to the script.

If they don't, they get punished -- sometimes arbitrarily.

Monday's ruling, if it stands, will have collateral damage, as Diaz is no longer the lone gunman he was in 2007.

"I'm just upset I can't be there for my brother right now since he's gonna be fighting soon," he told Ariel Helwani. "It's my bad he even got into this sport and he gets his face kicked in and they don't even pay him."

"I got us in this, and if I don't make any money, I don't have any way to get us out."

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