Post-UFC 158, post one of the worst results of his career, Nick Diaz is as known as he's ever been -- and that may be the least of his problems.
The Associated Press covered Diaz's revelation that he never paid taxes, making it one of the rare times the news stack on ESPN.com's MMA page featured a story with an AP byline. I first read the piece on Huffington Post before checking this site to see if we ran the same article. Sure enough, we did.
Add this item to the list of reasons people might be concerned for Diaz after his fighting days are done, whether that's now or down the road. People close to him say there's nothing to worry about, which honestly seems silly at the moment.
Diaz can try to pin the blame on anyone he wants, but the onus here (you might have heard this before) lies with the guy who looked out of his league Saturday.
I've been around Diaz since his start in MMA. I've covered the foibles, the triumphs and the highlights. And one thing rings true through it all: There's no one in this sport, or perhaps any other, similar to him. This is a man who knowingly does stuff that isn't helpful to him in any way. (I suppose in this sense he's not so different from many of us.) But he does so as a matter of principle, which makes it unique. Whether you or I agree with Diaz's tenets doesn't matter. This is his life, not ours, no matter how close we think we get to know him from time to time.
For all of Diaz's Diazisms, for all the stuff that would make regular people freak out (such as owing the IRS the world), he's, you know, whatever. Society would crumble from disrepair if the rest of us operated similarly.
I write this knowing how self-righteous I've been in my role as an opinion-monger over the years. What advice could I give Diaz other than the same stuff everyone else would say? Dude, stop with the recreational drug use and ruining your career! Dude, pay your taxes! Dude!
As if he'd kowtow to the advice of someone like me (or you). As if we had any notion, regardless of the stories that have come out, of his experience and what mattered to him most.
It's lazy (but oh so easy) to label him a dolt. It's easy, as I did Saturday night on Twitter, to express he's not worth taking seriously (a response to Diaz explaining he wants to retire, but he'd gladly rematch GSP). Why? Because most people don't throw a middle finger at convention. And so something must be off with someone who does, because it's too weird not to live like everyone else.
I have no idea what's next for Nick Diaz. Neither do you. Let's hope he does -- though history indicates probably not because his code deems it so.
As for fighting -- the reason people took an interest in Diaz to begin with -- it's not looking so hot. And that could be the worst news of all.