It may not be the Pentagon Papers, or a Belizean getaway with John McAfee, but Fightland has its first-ever exclusive: a picture of the shorts Nate Diaz will be wearing when he fights Benson Henderson for the UFC lightweight championship tomorrow night in Seattle, courtesy of Diaz's agency, VFD Sports. Yes, this is our second story about Diaz today, and no, we’re not here to play favorites, but we can’t help wanting to write about a guy who talks trash while his opponent is on top of him, who proudly reps one of the most dilapidated cities in the U.S., and who threw up double middle fingers (At the crowd? At the ref? At the world?) while he was pulling off a fight-winning triangle choke against a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert. That's just who we are.
Besides, this picture is a great distillation of the economic reality facing professional MMA fighters. It shows how much a fighter’s body, though stripped down, is covered, not just in blood, bruises, and tattoos, but in advertisements. This is a necessary evil: In a still-new sport, where most contracts are tiny compared with those in, say, basketball or football, and with an entire team of trainers, coaches, specialists, and guides needing to get paid after every fight – win, lose, or draw -- MMA fighters have no choice but to go the NASCAR route and ply their trade disguised as walking billboards.