Slandered, villified, misunderstood, hated, criticized, underappreciated, over-analyzed, bemoaned, and besmirched. It can't be easy being UFC lightweight Nate Diaz, who is known as much for his trash-talk, mean-mugs, and middle fingers as he is elegant jiu-jitsu, crafty boxing, and long MMA career. Unfortunately in an age of social media and echo-chamber punditry, impression can too often ossify into fact and a few moments too easily come to stand for the entirety of a personailty. But if there's one thing we've learned since we started falling in love with MMA, and if there's one idea we've been pushing since Fightland first launched more than a year ago it's that mixed martial artists--for all their tattoos and tough talk and delight in causing pain and their indifference to receiving it--are, by and large, nerds, loyalists, do-gooders, and populists: locking themselves away for hours, days, months, years, lifetimes like monks in pursuit of wisdom, surrounded by teammates, sucking up knowledge wherever they can find it and just as quickly passing on that knowledge to their fellow seekers, be they professionals, amatuers, dabblers, and even children.
If there was ever any doubt, here's footage (courtesy of LayzietheSavage) of Diaz--rightly and wrongly labelled as an MMA "bad boy"--patiently teaching a couple of young kids the proper way to lock in an underhook during a seminar at the Royce Gracie jiu-jitsu academy. Watch below and weep for your preconceptions and try not to love the guy.
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