The sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) has drastically changed over the course of the last two decades. After shedding certain labels such as “blood sport” and “human cock fighting,” not only have the rules changed, but so has the way certain fighters dress.
Gone are the days where combatants were rocking their best Tapout gear or sponsor’s clothing (largely because of this). In a move that was ushered in by former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, plenty of fighters are now seen in high-dollar suits when talking to the media.
And Nate Diaz is not a fan.
During a recent in-depth interview during a special Wednesday edition of “The MMA Hour,” the outspoken slugger declared himself — as well as big brother Nick Diaz -- as the only two professional fighters in the game today who actually take fighting for what it is. And they don’t have to wear “gay ass suits” to pressers to prove it because their t-shirts and hoodies work just fine.
“That’s why they want to see me and my brother fight, that’s the only real thing going on. Nick’s in the same situation, he’s taking a nice... he’s doing race season and he’s serious, too. So, we’re staying content with what we’re doing. And if somebody steps their game up, and starts acting right in the fight game, this is a fight sport. Me and Nick are the first professional fighters. We are the prime examples of what a professional fighter should be, you know what I’m saying? We will wear a t-shirt and a hoodie to the press conference. I’m not knocking anybody for dressing up, but why is everybody dressing up in gay ass little suits, looking like a football player press conference? Everybody shaking hands and being respectful, that’s disrespectful. We’re going to fight each other. I’m not disrespecting anybody until they disrespect me, but, we’re not best friends and we’re not sharing chocolates at weigh-ins. That’s boring the fuck out of me, that makes for boring fights. People tune in to see warfare. People turn around and say, that’s good sportsmanship. This aint no sport, this is the fight game, this is war. If you act like that, then you’re fucking boring.”
Some would say wearing suits to press conferences is all a part of trying to be more “professional.” Nevertheless, Diaz isn’t buying it, and won’t be donning his Sunday best to pressers anytime soon.
In addition, back in 2013, Nate was temporarily suspended for hurling a homophobic slur toward Bryan Caraway, so there’s no telling how the promotion will react to his latest comment, if at all.
To Nate’s point, while no one is denying the fact that both he and Nick bring it once the cage door slams shut, being a professional athlete — whether they like it or not — is also measured by how one portrays his or herself outside of the field, court, ring, or cage.
And being a professional fighter is no different, despite the fact that you’re legally obligated and given permission to trade blows in your line of work come fight night.
As for when he’ll next take part in a pre- or post-fight press conference, it likely won’t happen until 2018, as the Stockton slugger says he is sitting out the remainder of 2017 unless something big comes around that convinces him to step out of race season early.