Fighter Nate Diaz has never won a title in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a legend with mixed martial arts (MMA) fans due to his all-around talent combined with his entertaining, never-say-die fighting style. Diaz has amazing cardio and jiu-jitsu skills and he apparently loves to box and brawl in the ring (or the UFC’s Octagon), often leaving the fight in a bloody mess. Many of his fights aren’t for the squeamish, but his skill set has captured the hearts of fans and other fighters.
Nate and his brother Nick have both earned cult-like status with fighting fans for their action-packed fights, especially among the cannabis community as they’ve both been very open about their cannabis use. With seemingly an endless amount of cardio, the Diaz brothers have certainly shattered the stereotype of the “lazy stoner.”
Nate took his stature up a notch last weekend, which seemed unlikely given where he was in the past with a win and entertaining loss with fellow MMA legend Conor McGregor (thus far, the biggest UFC star of all-time). However, leave it to a Diaz brother to manage to still shock the MMA world, first by lighting up cannabis at a pre-fight press conference and then almost knocking out top contender Leon Edwards after Edwards had battered, bruised, and bloodied Diaz over the course of five rounds. Leon may have won the sporting competition and could be getting a title shot soon, but it was Nate that won the fight in how he was still elevated in the minds of fight fans around the world.
MMA Fighting reported on how Diaz captured attention before his last fight:
“Great working with AZ Commission, who are adopting our testing program/rules for this weekend,” (UFC VP of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff) Novitzky tweeted ahead of UFC 263 in Arizona. “Only issue with marijuana (THC) for Saturday’s fights is don’t show up impaired or under the influence. How it should be!”
Diaz, a well-known and well documented marijuana user, took full advantage. He was seen lighting up a joint on stage during the press conference.
“That’s Kill_4209,” Diaz answered when asked what he was smoking. “That’s the chronic, right there baby. You already know what’s up.”
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani summed up how Diaz ended up winning even though he lost on the judge’s scorecard:
Why? Because after getting beat up for 24 minutes, Diaz rocked Edwards with a left. Diaz pointed at Edwards, he mocked him, he rocked him some more — but then Diaz ran out of time.
Another minute and Diaz could have potentially finished Edwards. Had Diaz done so, it would have been one of the wildest things this sport has ever witnessed. It would have vaulted Diaz, the icon, the superstar, the needle mover, into another stratosphere. But alas, he ran out of time.
Still, it was Diaz who was celebrating after the judges’ scorecards were read. It was Diaz who received the standing ovation and cheers from the crowd. It was Diaz who was the talk of social media afterward.
Whether you are a fight fan or a sports fan at all, it is undeniable that professional athletes are important in the United States and help shape our culture. Cultural victories can be about as crucial as political and legal ones, and shattering stereotypes move us one step closer towards winning our ultimate fight for freedom. Thank you, Nate Diaz for helping knock down another Reefer Madness stereotype.
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Featured photo courtesy of Wiki Commons.