Less than a week away from his debut show as a promoter… and Nick Diaz still continues his act as a misunderstood enigma.
Under the WAR: Mixed Martial Arts banner, Nick Diaz Promotions will run an event this Saturday at Stockton Arena. It is going to be a very busy weekend of action in Northern California. Adding intrigue to a show layered in mystery is the fact that many of Cesar Gracie’s fighters are involved in promoting their own shows at the same time as the Stockton Arena event. Dave Terrell is promoting a Pro-Am event in Santa Rosa (Northern Bay Area). Gilbert Melendez is involved in a CAMO show in Vallejo, California. Also, there is another CAMO event called Showdown in Surftown at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. In a state like California where two-thirds of the events happen in Southern California, it’s unusual to see such activity in the North.
So, if the rest of the Cesar Gracie clan is busy elsewhere with other events, who will exactly be appearing at Nick Diaz’s event in Stockton?
One thing we know for sure is that Diaz, despite having his name attached to the event, has largely been out of the public spotlight. Granted, this is not to be unexpected given his past behavior in terms of doing press for UFC fights. However, it’s his show and he wants to be a promoter. Nick has value as being a front man. If you want to be a promoter, you need a strong face to do media publicity. So far, publicity for the show has largely been left to Vancouver lawyer Jonathan Tweedale. He’s eloquent and can communicate well but Nick Diaz appeals to a certain kind of MMA fan and they want to hear from him what he has to say.
The fight card booked for Stockton Arena appears as follows:
- Daniel Roberts vs. Justin Baesman
- Caleb Mitchell vs. Evan Esguerra
- Mike Persons vs. Clayton McKinney
- Darin Cooley vs. Cody Gibson
- Roy Boughton vs. Liron Wilson
- Chris Quitiquit vs. Dominic Clark
The card itself, on paper, may not appear to be a lot of sizzle but the matches are pretty solid and the modified rules for the event appear to be promising. First, a ring will be used instead of a cage. Second, no elbows. Essentially, it’s Unified Rules with a touch of PRIDE & Strikeforce influence. One source with knowledge of the event framed the philosophy this way.
“Eliminating elbows to the head of a grounded opponent is important for encouraging fighting rather than stalling… rather than permitting fighters to game the system by stalling out with minimal fighting action.”
The idea is that eliminating elbows will create more opportunities for submissions.
“[It] requires a fighter [on top] to create space to punch down. That space created to punch is exactly the same space the fighter on bottom requires to work his submission game or to try to get up to [their] feet.”
As for what kind of plans Diaz has in store for fans as an event promoter, a source on background insists that he is in it for the long term.
“Nick is already retired from MMA. Nick doesn’t want to get ahead of himself in making big plans for the future. The intention is to have a successful first show and [go] from there… if the first show goes well then some major networks/partners will want to ‘jump in.’ He’s going to move slowly and methodically…”
One fact that has been confirmed is that Scott Coker is not involved in the initial show. Coker understood the vision and value of promoting a local Northern California event with fight camps. It’s why Strikeforce became a successful venture with Frank Shamrock and the partners behind the San Jose Sharks. Once Strikeforce tried to go national, the promotion lost its local appeal as an organization and drew different kinds of MMA fans. That was further cemented when the UFC bought out the Strikeforce assets.
Staying local and staying true to his roots is something that Diaz plans on being consistent about.
“He is taking things one event at a time for now,” claims a source from Diaz’s camp on background, “but there is a long-term vision. Nick does not want to make the same mistakes other promotions have made in the past — trying to get too big, too fast. [He wants to] provide much needed opportunities for up-and-coming fighters in NorCal and other areas around North America and [wants to] implement his vision for what a pro MMA organization should be.”
Nick Diaz wants to promote events based on philosophy and substance. Will that fly in an American MMA scene that often values sizzle and big names over young talent?