Full Contact Fighter’s “The Daily Takedown:” Another Diaz Disappointment, Pacquiao KO Overshadows UFC on Fox 5
By Joshua Molina
Nate Diaz, like his brother Nick, has a heart of steel. But sometimes Nate, like his brother, has a head of straw.
That’s because when you are getting your face, stomach and legs pounded on national TV, the last thing you want to do to your superior opponent is flip him a double middle finger.
Diaz had no answer for Benson Henderson’s speed and strength. Instead of changing his game plan and strategy, he fought Henderson’s fight and looked totally outclassed in the biggest fight of his life.
There’s no shame in losing to Henderson, but Diaz demonstrated a clear lack of sportsmanship and class en route to getting his backside handed to him on a platter.
At least twice during the broadcast Fox cut away from Diaz giving the middle finger — to an empty cage. In Diaz’s mind, he probably feels some kind of moral victory that he can disrespect Henderson while getting destroyed.
If he can’t beat Henderson with his hands, maybe he can at least annoy him.
Diaz needs to realize that he only embarrasses himself when he taunts his opponent with his vulgar sign language while getting hammered. The ultimate F-U to Henderson would have been for Diaz to change his game plan and force Henderson to a fight a different fight.
Diaz wasn’t able to do that against Henderson. Instead we had to watch him suffer through five rounds of misery. Like his brother Nick against Carlos Condit, Nate was incapable of changing his strategy.
It may be that the Diaz brothers will always be just really good B-Level fighters. Until either one of them figures out a way to dig deep into their souls and come back during a fight, they are just going to be known as trash-talking bad boys who entertaining to watch, but can’t win the big one.
The good news for the Cesar Gracie camp after the Diaz debacle is that Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez can now vie for a title shot against Henderson. Melendez said he wouldn’t fight Diaz, a friend and training partner, if he won the title.
Melendez has shown the ability to change his style and get better during a fight. Like Nate Diaz, he is tough and gritty. But Melendez is also more technically skilled, smarter and stronger than Diaz inside the cage.
With four big fights, everybody was talking about what a great card the UFC on Fox show was – especially the UFC. Play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan said many times that the show was “The greatest fight card ever shown on free TV.”
That’s a great combination of arrogance and a lack of knowledge of history of colliding. There have been hundreds of boxing fights on free TV over the years and the UFC should be embarrassed for making such a ridiculous statement.
On the iconic ABC’s Wide World of Sports alone, Mike Tyson destroyed Marvis Frazier, the son of the late Joe Frazier, in a fight that at the time was pretty big. Evander Holyfield beat Dwight Muhammad Qawi (formerly Tyrone Braxton) on free TV. Nevermind the fact that Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman all fought on Wide World of Sports in the 1960s.
Even in MMA, the Strikeforce show on April 17, 2010 featured Dan Henderson vs. Jake Shields; Gegard Mousasi vs. King Mo; and Gilbert Melendez vs. Shinya Aoki – in a card that was very big at the time, even thought it was marred by brawl after the Shields’ shocking upset over Henderson.
The UFC may have decided to drum up the “The greatest fight card ever shown on free TV,” nonsense because it was fully aware that more than one million people had ordered the Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez Pay Per View fight on the same night.
If you haven’t seen the knockout yet, it makes Cung Le’s KO over Rich Franklin and Johny Hendricks’ KO of Martin Kampmann look like pro wrestling.
After Marquez’ right hand KO of Pacquiao, a man regarded by some as pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world, Pacquiao was laid out on the canvas for several minutes. When he regained his senses, he had trouble seeing.