Are Nick and Nate Diaz The Worst Case of Squandered Potential in UFC History?

Nick Diaz
Nick Diaz Credit:

With both Nick and Nate Diaz in legal hot water, and with years of controversies and missteps, can they be considered the worst case of squandered potential in UFC and MMA history?

With the news of Nick Diaz being arrested Friday for domestic battery (including domestic battery via strangulation), all sorts of emotions come into play. First, lets preface by using everyone’s favorite term in these cases, “allegedly.” None of the accusations against Diaz, or charges for that matter, have been proven. In fact, there’s not even a clear picture of what transpired, other that a female victim was sent to hospital, and Nick Diaz was sent to jail.

Diaz has had his share of defenders, and there’s plenty of conspiracy theories to go around. There’s also a victim in all of this, which is easy to lose sight of when dealing with someone of Diaz’s notoriety. Again, if the allegations are true.

Maybe it’s a little too early to judge based on this case alone. Yet the reality is that it’s yet another black mark for Diaz, at least on the surface, in a career full of them. It’s another controversy. Another unwelcome distraction. One that is likely to keep Nick Diaz out of the octagon for months to come, if not more. Worst case scenario, he’s looking at serious prison time. Best case scenario? It’s hard to say. Wishing for an allegation like this to be a lie means you’re pretty much hoping someone committed a heinous crime, rather than someone else committing a different heinous crime. No matter what happens here, someone’s life has been torn asunder.

When you add this case to the long, colorful history of Diaz, well, it’s another puzzle piece in an image quickly becoming clear. That picture paints Nick Diaz as awash in wasted potential, with so many missed opportunities left in the wake of his rather chaotic existence. From the post-fight brawl in Strikeforce, to a marijuana suspension following his bout against Anderson Silva in 2015 under the UFC banner, to a USADA whereabouts suspension, Nick Diaz has spent more time out of the fight game than in it the past several years. He has not fought since that 2015 contest with ‘The Spider,’ and has fought just three times since 2011. Three times in roughly seven years. At 34, Nick Diaz has wasted his prime.

With his own legal troubles following an alleged (there’s that word again) assault on Clay Guida at a Combate Americas event last week, younger brother Nate is in a similar situation. Nate Diaz hasn’t fought since his second bout with Conor McGregor in 2016. Which means that two of the promotion’s biggest stars have essentially been sitting on the sidelines, wasting away — and much of their troubles are self-created, at least on the surface of it all.

The problem is, much of what makes the Diaz brothers so beloved is that unhinged, on edge f*** you personality. Yet there are lines, and at this point, those lines have been crossed.

Are the Diaz brothers the worst case of squandered talent in UFC (or MMA) history? If we say yes here, someone will immediately point to a case like War Machine, or Alexis Vila, pointing out how ultimately their indiscretions were so much worse. Yet when considering the stature of the Diaz brothers, and their accomplishments in the sport, it’s hard to find a more stunning case of careers gone by the wayside.

Check out our full debate, plus a look at where Michael ‘Venom’ Page goes after a big win at Bellator 200, in episode 4 of The Drive-In Podcast below!