UFC Fighter Nate Diaz Continues to Beat Down Negative Stereotypes About Cannabis Users
When Nate Diaz returned from a three year hiatus from the octagon to fight in UFC 241 this past weekend, defeating former champ Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, the world was instantly reminded that regardless of the rarity of his media appearances, or how few endorsement deals he signs, “The Stockton Slugger” is one of the most dangerous men on the planet.
For a man who doesn’t seem to enjoy the spotlight, Diaz is always quick to make headlines and not always for his performances inside the cage. You may remember the last time we saw him operating under the UFC banner was on August 22nd of 2016 at the post-fight press conference following UFC 202 when Diaz lost in a controversial decision in a highly touted rematch bout against Conor McGregor. It was at that presser, face battered from the back and forth battle, when Diaz nonchalantly pulled a vape pen from somewhere and started chiefing it right there in front of the world. When asked what he was puffin, he didn’t hesitate to confess that it was CBD oil in the pen. He said he vapes it before and after fights, and throughout training, to “help the healing process”, particularly with inflammation.
Needless to say, UFC President Dana White, already not a huge Diaz fan, was not happy as the thunder of the night was being stolen from him and his Irish champ by a street-smart fistfighter and a $20 vape pen. The UFC was on the verge of betting big on McGregor, a wager they will be paying off for quite some time, and their mistreatment of Diaz throughout his career was only elevated after the decision loss to McGregor.
So for three years he sat out. After his comeback win this past weekend, he claimed that his return took that long because there hasn’t been anyone worth fighting in his weight class. Far from slacking for the past few years, Diaz trains daily with some of the top striking and grappling coaches and teammates in the world. So, really, nothing changed for him so it should have come as no surprise when Nate sparked controversy again for this most recent fight.
Wednesday of last week, in the lead up to UFC 241 in Anaheim, California, fighters were brought before fans and the media for a live, open workout. Most fighters use this opportunity to flex a bit, smack some pads, and generally appear impressive without giving away any gameplan. Diaz took the opportunity to unveil a fat RAW rolling paper cone stuffed with what we assume was high-CBD hemp flowers. The lighter came next and before anyone could bat an eye, the smoke was in the air. After a few rips he passed it to the left and started his shadow boxing routine for the crowd.
As we know, he went out a few days later and smacked around a former world champion en route to a unanimous decision victory. Personally, I tuned into the post-fight press conference hoping to see Diaz do a massive dab of hash oil on stage and use Dana White’s bulbous head as a sweaty, pink carb cap, but hey, there’s always next time.
All joking aside, Nate Diaz and his zero-fucks demeanor break pretty much all stereotypes when it comes to cannabis.
First of all, his cardio is ridiculous. Nate Diaz is known for having a deep gas tank and for throwing “punches in bunches”, overwhelming his opponents with flurries of strikes that disrupts their breathing while also making mincemeat of their grills. He has followed in his older brother’s footsteps, literally, in more ways than one, developing an affinity for distance running – typically a fighter’s least favorite workout and something that most people would refuse to believe that a “pothead” would enjoy. For from suffering from any sort of weed-induced laziness or lack of motivation, Nate Diaz runs half-marathons and even competes in triathlons, swimming 0.93 miles (1.5 kilometers), cycling 24.8 miles (40 kilometers) and then running 6.2 miles (10 kilometers).
So we know that Nate likes to partake in cannabis. We also know that even with 11 losses on his professional record, he is one of the most dangerous men on the planet with his bare hands – so is Nate Diaz the toughest toker on the planet?
Well… his older brother Nick might take issue with that statement. An octagon assassin and mixed martial arts legend in his own right, Nick Diaz is almost identical in size to younger Nate and can match his baby brother in just about all aspects of both athleticism and street mentality. Who is tougher between the two of them? We’ll never know the answer to that one.
One could even argue that one of the most famous stoners of them all these days, UFC commentator, comedian, and podcaster Joe Rogan might hold that title. Even though he is nearly old enough to be Nate’s dad, Rogan was a top level kickboxer in his youth and MMA fighters still beg him for lessons on his thunderous spinning back kick. Rogan trains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and earned his black belt in the style in 2012 from BJJ legend Jean Jacques Machado so he is no slouch on the ground either. Not to mention, Rogan is nearly four inches shorter than either Diaz brother, but without USADA or anyone else ever testing him for steroids or testosterone, Rogan walks around at 5’8” tall and 200 pounds of solid muscle. Could Diaz’ reach and tenacity tame Rogan’s inner ape? Another what-if that will never happen.
That is the biggest stereotype that gets tapped out by a guy like Nate Diaz though, in my opinion.
Here you have a guy raised on the streets of Stockton, California which if you aren’t aware, it ain’t pretty. A kid who came up fighting for whatever he wanted, but even despite his longtime love affair with Mary Jane, someone who is not dangerous to anyone until he steps inside the cage. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to test him outside of it either, but it’s pretty clear that cannabis calms Diaz down, rather than inciting him to violence or crime.
After his huge win Saturday night, Diaz took the mic from Rogan and the crowd held its breath waiting for him to name Conor McGregor for the three-peat rubber match. Instead, Diaz called out a fellow bruiser and fan-favorite by the name of Jorge Masvidal saying, “There’s no more gangsters in this game anymore. There ain’t nobody who does it right but me and him. I know my man’s a gangster, but he ain’t no west coast gangster!” Masvidal, in the crowd for the event, was all smiles as the crowd went wild.
Meanwhile, the man that the UFC chose to be its posterboy, Conor McGregor, recently had a fight as well. He suckerpunched a pensioner in the back of the head when the old timer refused a shot of McGregor’s pissy whiskey in a local pub… this after throwing a dolly through a bus window and nearly inciting a riot after his last UFC loss.
And that brings us to the final lesson that Nate Diaz and his sparked spliff taught us this weekend – if you work for a company that you know does not see your full value, or recognize your full potential, just keep grinding, keep doing YOU. Real recognizes real and your crowd is just waiting for you to give them a reason to cheer.