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Diaz: Mixed emotions on mixed martial arts

Nick DiazDave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Labor of glove: Nick Diaz punches people in the face for a living because it pays the bills.

Because it's frequently difficult to understand the theme of a Nick Diaz speech, I may be misinterpreting his apparent distaste for MMA in a video interview for Fight! magazine. (Exclamation point theirs.) If you can't be bothered to watch Diaz spin nunchucks around for several minutes -- and you should -- it boils down to being good at something he doesn't necessarily enjoy.

"I don't love fighting," he said. "It's a living hell. … If they paid me to race triathlons as much as they do to fight, I probably wouldn't fight anymore."

Losing your taste for prizefighting can be as dangerous as losing your physical ability, a fact Mike Tyson put on prominent display when he basically quit out of apathy against Kevin McBride in 2005. Athletes don't like to say fighting is an emotional career, but it is. Why else would so many of them insist on staying past their expiration date?

Diaz doesn't seem so detached in the ring, and it's possible a different day would result in an entirely different answer. But it's interesting to examine the ability of someone who defies conventional wisdom about becoming proficient. If you don't love what you do, can you still do it well?