Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Diaz vs. Condit: Better Late Than Never




 In the "now, now, NOW!" news era of 2012, stories are like Lance Armstrong's steroid supply: they cycle fast. In MMA, something controversial happens, and within 20 minutes of it happening, there are already 358,499 people that have posted things about it, almost always without thinking about what they're saying, because that's not enough time to think. Certain stories I like to settle into my brain as concrete ideas before I shoot off at the mouth and make an ass of myself (which has definitely happened before).

I'd like to touch on what transpired at UFC 143, undoubtedly one of the most head scratching cards in recent memory. I could (and frankly, might) go Tolstoy about everything weird, hypocritical and ludicrous about 143, but for now, I'd like to focus on the idea of winning fights by "going forward" and "walking someone down."

Nick Diaz dropped a unanimous decision to Carlos Condit in their interim title bout, with judges scorecards of 48-47, 49-46, and 49-46. Afterwards, he lamented that he thought he clearly won, because he felt that he not only landed more shots, but that he "walked him down the whole fight." At first, I thought this was just typical Diaz aloofness. In his mind, Carlos Condit had acted cowardly by moving away and "throwing baby leg kicks."

This argument picked up steam, though. I heard enough whiny nonsense about the fight ("It was nothin' but a track meet!") that I had to debunk it before this emotionally misdirected garbage gained enough notoriety to be accepted as fact.

I call it "emotionally misdirected" because Condit outlanded Diaz by a significant margin. While it's true that many of those strikes were not thrown to killshot Nick Diaz, it's just as true that many of them were. The irony is that, statistically, it wasn't all that different from watching a vintage Diaz win; lots of strikes landed by both men, but one pulling ahead due to sheer volume. The only difference could be found in the direction the winners feet were moving.

It's the last point that makes me want to start pummeling myself like Edward Norton in Fight Club. The idea that in a competitive fight, all you have to do is identify who moved forward more and "Bammo! There's your winner!" is nothing short of absurd. Imagine if Muhammad Ali was judged this way.

I'll grant that, in a fight where the stand up offense is so closely contested that people throw up their hands and honestly can't figure out who won, it's relevant to think about who moved forward more. But it's not the ONLY thing that's relevant, and that's where the argument is promptly derailed.

As we all know, the whining didn't end there. Carlos Condit allegedly went from being a dangerous knockout artist to a spineless pansy because he didn't accept a Diaz lambasting like so many before him. To hear people complain about this fight, you'd think that Carlos Condit was doing a Road Runner impersonation for 5 rounds, making a gargantuan effort to avoid any kind of offense. In reality, he landed offense for most of the fight, and when Diaz would plod forward and start going Rock 'em Sock 'em, Condit would take an angle and return to the center of the cage. How could he be hated on for doing this? Doesn't Diaz deserve more criticism for not cutting the ring off and showing an inability to make even the most scant of adjustments until it was too late? I don't get it.

He's hated on because this was a fight that had lofty aspirations, and since many biased fans felt that it didn't live up to them, then it must somehow be someone's fault.

Was this the Hagler-Hearns barnburner that many thought it would be? No. But it was also nowhere near the "OK, seriously, is Kalib Starnes throwing this fight?" abyss that you would have thought it was if your only knowledge of the fight was what you read on the message boards. Anyone who argues otherwise should just go ahead and molliwhop the nearest HD TV until it breaks, because they only have (bloodshot) eyes for Nick Diaz.

11 comments:

  1. Nice post, and couldnt agree more. Diaz did attempt to change his game plan in the 5th with the take down which actually got him somewhere but it was too late.

    Watching Diaz, it was like an old nintendo boxing game where it seemed all he was capable of was moving forward and throwing punches.

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  2. watch Rory MacDonald and Condit, he got his ass handed to him for two rounds til Rory gassed in his first big fight in his hometown. Condits standup is overrated and he knew that in the Diaz fight and ran, literally, turning his back at times to Diaz and sprinting, as for outstriking, I guess if you appreciate baby leg kicks. I don't say Diaz won, close fight but anyone trying to say Condit dominated that fight is a fanboy

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    1. Condit did not get his ass handed to him in the MacDonald fight. He was landing the better shots, but got taken down numerous times.

      Also, the way that you denigrate Carlos's kicks, and label his strategy of disengaging and returning to the center as "sprinting" is a pretty blatant show of fanboyism for Nick.

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  3. hey did he say condit dominated? no why are you sidetracking shit with weak ass strawmen arguments. No ones saying condit dominated the fight but a lot of people are acting as if he did nothing and hid, this is gonna generate a lot of hate but i think a lot of this is ignorance about the fight game.
    To all the people who call his kicks "baby leg kicks" take a thai kick from someone who knows how to kick and say that again. Just so you know kicking someone enough to disrupt thier flow means it hurt at least a little bit, not instantly punishing but really adds up kinda like a jab. If Diaz had landed more strikes and the majority of those were jabs would he have lost the fight according to your logic?

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  4. But where did he run? Right back to the center of the cage, where he returned to throwing inside leg kicks, outside leg kicks, front kicks, roundhouse kicks to the body, and stomp kicks to the knee, as well as spinning elbows, spinning back fists, punches, and the single biggest combination of the fight, which was the outside left leg kick - right headkick that had Nick Diaz looking confused for a second.

    I think Condit actually improved his striking in this fight, because he showed that he can adapt to an effective striker that is very difficult to deal with.

    Thanks for reading.

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    1. The best tweet I read afterwards was something along the lines of "well, Carlos has about nine months to work on his takedown defense." No kiddin'.

      Follow me on Twitter @mma_movement

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  5. i good read and a better discription of the events that actually happened. i'm almost shocked to see objectivity in a post regarding MMA. refreshing that you take neither one side or the other but instead try a balanced view, i honestly can't believe it. who would've thought in this day and age that, that was still possible? good work. - Alan -Dublin, Irelan

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  6. Thanks for the encouragement, Alan. I genuinely appreciate it.

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  7. Thanks for the read . Just would like to make a few points. First off the one thing that really bothers me about this whole discussion is the notion that fans who believe Condit won are "true" MMA fans, while those that think Diaz won are just morons that have no grasp of the intricacies of MMA or fight sports in general. l watched the fight a few times. After the first time I thought it could have gone either way not based on the fighters but on wishy washy judging that we've become all too familiar with. After the third time watching I really thought Diaz took it. Carlos may have landed more strikes but I thought Diaz really took the fight to Carlos with Diaz landing the more solid, harder punches. I'm not so sure Condit had that type of game plan going into the fight. The first 2 rounds Carlos looked confused trying to figure out his openings on Diaz. He didnt really start his "stick and move" thing until the 3rd. Condit's corner knew that he couldn't finish Diaz by the bell at the 2nd so they had him adjust his game plan. Which he did in a way, just dont think it was a graceful and eloquent as some would have us believe. Also don't think Condit was "running away" just for the record. So in the end I gave Diaz 1,2,5 with Carlos winning 3,4. Thats just my opinion. I love both fighters and hope to someday see a rematch. One quick thing on the "baby leg kicks" and your reply to that being that Diaz uses the same tactics. While it's true that Diaz uses weaker punches in high volume to soften up his opponents, his fights rarely go to decision and when they do he loses those decisions more than he wins them. Also the comparisons to Ali are silly, I've seen that a lot lately.

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  8. I don't even know what a true MMA fan is anymore, and I agree that it's a silly notion. But to say that Condit's corner "knew" he couldn't finish Diaz sounds like revisionist history to me. Just because CC wasn't swinging to kill Nick Diaz with every strike somehow means he was coasting? If one of those strikes had put ND down and out, everyone would be saying things like "What happened to Diaz's chin?"

    Again, there were definitely stretches where Diaz was dominant, and I don't pooh pooh anyone who thinks that Diaz won the fight. I'm just trying to get people to give Condit some credit, because every time a fight like this happens, people seem to totally misguide their anger and disappointment.

    I didn't compare anyone to Ali, especially since I believe the right guy won. It was just a thought I had.

    Thanks for reading.

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  9. I'm sure Carlos and his team had a plan to not play into the Diaz game and maybe it was just Carlos getting into his groove and finding his rythmn in the 3rd and 4th but it just appeared to me that Carlos was confused or unsure of what to do with Nick in those first 2 rounds. Of course I think that Carlos has the ability to put Nick to sleep and before the fight I had a feeling it was going to go that way. If he did I wouldn't have been surprised Carlos is a beast. I just think that Carlos got taken by surprise by the awkwardness of fighting a guy like Nick and the knockout was off the table. I know most people attribute the Diaz brothers winning streaks to dumb luck or poor planning on their opponents but we have to start to admit that they have something else that makes good fighters fight like shit. Now I'm starting to go into the realm of "nuthuggerism" by making them sound superhuman. Thats not my intention I'm just saying that they've put something together that works . Nick started it and now it looks like Nate is starting to catch on but anyway I'm getting off topic. I really enjoy your blog and in a few days we have a whole new awesome card to argue about. Also wasn't trying to make a dig at you for the Ali comment I've just seen people use that a lot in relation to this fight and I think it's gone overboard. I look forward to see Condit vs GSP, it was a win/win for the fans after that fight because we get to see GSP really work to keep that belt

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