The decision came 44 seconds into the third round after Lawler, a former UFC welterweight champion, dropped Diaz with a big right hook. While on the ground, the Stockton-native narrowly avoided a stinging uppercut from Lawler before referee Jason Herzog asked Diaz if he wanted to continue. After he made no effort to get back up to his feet, Herzog waved off the fight.
It was a disappointing end to Diaz’s long-awaited return to the Octagon, in which the 38-year-old showed glimpses of his famous boxing prowess. Lawler, however, relentlessly marched forward the entire fight, landing the more powerful blows to earn a victory which he since admitted is possibly “spoiling” the UFC’s grand plans for one of its biggest stars.
It was Diaz’s first fight in over six years, and he’s now without a win in almost ten. Even so, given his star power, it seems the UFC’s door will always be open to one of its most beloved fighters.
Michael Bisping Lauds Nick Diaz For Ending Fight And Avoiding Injury
The act of throwing in the towel is widely accepted and regularly put into practice in boxing. In MMA however, it carries a stigma that often calls into question a fighter’s will to win and commitment to the sport.
Michael Bisping, a man famous for suffering a variety of long-term injuries thanks to his time in the UFC, thinks otherwise. The former middleweight champ, now UFC color commentator praised Diaz for his ballsy decision to end the fight early, thereby avoiding further serious damage.
“Fighters know, we know deep inside of us, ‘I’ve got nothing left. I am exhausted, my arms are tight, it feels like I’m punching through water, I’m taking a lot of shots to the head.’ We don’t know how dazed he was, how rattled he was, how close to losing consciousness on numerous occasions. We don’t know any of that,” Bisping said on his YouTube channel.
“Nick Diaz was man enough to say, ‘I’m done.’ And that’s hard to do. That takes balls. And I know a lot of you might think that’s crazy. ‘What? He gave up. It takes balls to give up?’ It takes balls to recognize that you’re done. It takes honesty with yourself, real tough honesty to say, ‘You know what? He’s got me. I’m done. He’s beaten me.’”
Bisping noted that Diaz’s decision was likely influenced by the fact that it was a five-round fight, and that he may not have been prepared to endure another two rounds. Had it been three, Michael contends that Diaz may have stuck it out to the end.
Whatever the reasoning for the decision, Bisping thinks it was a wise one given the serious long-term health consequences Diaz could have suffered had he sustained more unnecessary damage.
“Because he could have got up,” Bisping continued. “Of course Nick Diaz could’ve got up. But he would have just taken another hiding. He would’ve taken more blows that he didn’t need to take. And that could’ve contributed to CTE down the line, or more injuries, or the need to go to the hospital. We don’t know.”
“Listen, when you’re in there, it’s real shit. This ain’t messing around. This ain’t fun and games. This is real consequences. Serious consequences. And Nick Diaz knew at that moment in time, ‘I’m done. There you go. Robbie, take it. Have it.’ And as I said, that was a tough decision to make, but I respected it.”
What did you think of Nick Diaz’s decision to end the fight early?