Stockton – The City of Brotherly Love. No, you say? Technically, you’re right. Although MMA fighters and brothers Nick and Nate Diaz have provided Stockton with some sense of fame and notoriety since their rise through the sport. One has to look no further than the brothers’ Twitter handles (@NickDiaz209 & @NateDiaz209), which both contain the Stockton area code, to see that the city still remains an integral part of their lives.
I should come clean right off the bat — I was born in Stockton and lived there until the ripe old age of thirteen (but don’t hold that against me). So, I think that provides me with some insight as to the Diaz brothers’ background and mindset. Stockton has fallen on hard times recently. It’s consistently ranked as one of Yahoo!’s most miserable cities in which to live. Out of all U.S. cities, it ranks towards the tops in violent crimes and foreclosures, per capita. Oh yeah, the whole damn city declared bankruptcy in 2012, which at the time was the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history (thanks Detroit, for taking that title!). It speaks volumes about the Diaz brothers (who still live and train in Stockton) that they remain so proud and loyal to this down-and-out city.
They carry a little bit of Stockton with them every time they enter the octagon. Long known as the bad boys of the UFC, the Diaz bros. fight with reckless abandon and view each opponent as an arch-nemesis who has horribly disrespected them and every member of their family. Let’s not make any bones about it, the Diaz brothers dig deep into a very dark place inside themselves when they fight. As an example, back in 2013 Nick did his best to get under Georges St. Pierre’s skin and rattle the usually unflappable champion — and he damn near did. I hate to use this analogy, but I’ll do it anyway – The Diaz brothers go to war.
Unfortunately, the two fighters are currently on the outs with the UFC. UFC President Dana White is a no-nonsense guy. He’s a straight shooter and he speaks his mind. No one is going to push Dana around. Not even the 209-hardened Diaz brothers. Well guess what? That just sucks. For everyone. Nick and Nate are big fan draws, even if it’s only for controversial purposes. When they fight, the fans want to watch. Oh, and it’s not only the actual fight that the viewers want to see — it’s also the pre and post-fight trash talk and antics that have us all transfixed. Nate, in particular, has gone on some epic Twitter rants that appear to have come straight from hell. And who could forget Nick’s famous quote from the UFC 158 conference call, “We’re in fucking Lodi, bitch.” Classic.
Which is why my ears perked up when I heard that Nate Diaz said he’d move up to the 170 lb. Welterweight division to fight Matt Brown, who’s been on a hot streak. Nick already fights in the Welterweight division, and many prognosticators have stated that they’d like to see Brown fight Nick (assuming Nick and Dana White could bury the hatchet and play nice). I don’t know how realistic this is, but imagine a scenario where Matt Brown has to take on both Diaz brothers in an effort to sustain his rise through the Welterweight rankings. Being a native of Stockton, this is a fantasy of mine.
That scenario would be something straight out of the movies or WWE. The 209 tag-team from the wrong side of the tracks wreaking havoc and destroying anything in their path. Brothers! Who doesn’t love a story line involving brothers? And imagine the ramifications for Brown if he was able to beat them both. Just as Kazushi Sakuraba was known as “The Gracie Hunter”, Brown would cement his name in MMA lore as the Diaz Destroyer, or some such monicker.
Secretly, I just really wanna see the Diaz brothers back in action — whether it’s against Brown or not. Stockton doesn’t have much going for it, and right now Nick and Nate are the city’s most famous products (sorry Chris Isaak). Even if you hate them, you can’t deny that fights are more exciting when they’re involved. Even if it’s only because you’re cheering a little harder for the other guy. So here’s hoping that all parties involved can work out their differences and get these guys back in the ring, because it would be good for everyone – Stockton included.