Nick Diaz didn't have the heart to discuss the decision after last night's grueling five-round title fight with Carlos Condit. He had left it in the cage. So, when the cards were read, when insanity reigned and Condit ended the night with his hand raised, Diaz had no patience left for this cruel, mad world.
"I think I'm done with this MMA," Diaz said. "I don't need this s***."
Condit took home the UFC's interim welterweight title on his bicycle. Scratch that. Condit won a track meet last night. He ran from Diaz for five rounds, sometimes literally, with arms pumping as he sprinted across the cage to reset and begin the race again.
Other times, it was metaphorically, circling, always circling, never still as he potshotted Diaz with leg kicks and avoided his incessant pressure.
Make no mistake—Condit's performance was masterful. Diaz is a fighting machine, an angry man who pursues you to the bitter end. At that end, he was still coming after Condit like it was the first round. Carlos matched Diaz's cardio and passion with his own. It was amazing to behold. But it's hard to call what Condit did "fighting."
Carlos Condit came to win an athletic contest. Nick Diaz came to fight. The difference was distinct and startling. Condit sprinted the UFC right down a slope so slippery, it might as well be made of banana peels.
The sport was built on two men coming together in the cage, head-to-head, and trying to do each other harm. Condit violated the implicit contract the UFC has with its fans. His performance looked more like a defensive boxer, the kind boxing "purists" love and fans hate. Carlos Condit was Ronald "Winky" Wright or Josh Clottey last night. And that's not a good thing.
The UFC is at an interesting place in its history. The television contract with Fox opens up the sport to all kinds of new fans. What is MMA, they might ask? If they watched last night, it's just a modern version of boxing, a game and not a fight.
Cage fighting is at its best when the action is raw, when passion merges with calculation in a beautiful symphony of violence. No one watches the UFC for sprinting, circling and avoiding the fight. You don't watch the UFC for "smart."
It's a lesson the promotion may learn the hard way as a thousand Condits descend to turn something pure and amazing into just another game.
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