Image is everything when you’re selling a product, and for the UFC, selling Nick Diaz – who will be facing off against Anderson Silva at UFC 183 on Saturday night – means selling a kind of supervillain who laughs at rules and commitments. But how accurate is that depiction?
Here’s the second episode of UFC 183 Embedded, which features a lot of Silva traveling to Las Vegas, co-main eventers Tyron Woodley and Kelvin Gastelum getting ready, and some open workouts at the MGM Grand. But where is Diaz? Courtesy of a Dave Scholler media scrum, we hear that Diaz is skipping the workouts. Heck, he even skipped his flight to Vegas.
At the end of the video, Diaz arrives, bedecked in black and striding like a gunfighter keen on putting a bullet in the sheriff’s heart.
But how much of a rule-breaking bad guy is Diaz really? How much of it is the UFC selling an image?
Since it’s well known that Nick Diaz is in Las Vegas and has been for days, pay attention to which media outlets play along with UFC games
— Jonathan Snowden (@mmaencyclopedia) January 28, 2015
“Where is Nick Diaz” is a fun marketing gimmick. — Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) January 28, 2015
Marc Raimondi at MMAFighting talked to GLORY star Joe Schilling about Diaz (the two fighters have trained together), and got this insight:
On Wednesday morning, UFC president Dana White tweeted out a graphic of Nick Diaz on a milk carton. Diaz had missed two flights en route to Las Vegas, according to UFC vice president of public relations Dave Sholler, and no-showed UFC 183 open workouts. Diaz meets Anderson Silva in the UFC 183 main event Saturday night at the MGM Grand.
Schilling isn’t sure how much of the situation is real and how much is a ploy by the UFC to paint Diaz a certain way. UFC Embedded cameras caught Diaz arriving in Vegas on Wednesday evening.
“It’s Dana White being Dana White,” Schilling told MMAFighting.com. “It’s great promoting. It just sucks that Nick’s not in on the joke. They always tend to really grind in on Nick and Nate’s character and just the thought that they don’t care. It’s definitely all hype.”
Of course, not everyone can be a Chael Sonnen or Conor McGregor when a camera is stuck in their face, and if Diaz needs a little help promoting himself, it behooves promoters to do what they can to convince would-be viewers that tuning in to watch them fight is the most important thing in the world.
It just sucks sometimes when the hype reeks of conspiracy.