B.J. Penn and Nick Diaz met in a thrilling affair to topline UFC 137. The action was fast-paced and wildly violent. For fans, it was a monumental collision, as both Penn and Diaz are known for their unbridled aggression, remarkable durability and tendencies to speak long before thinking. Neither of these two are afraid to insult another and neither man would ever contemplate walking away from an altercation. The fact that both individuals have taken part in memorable rivalries that in some cases stretched far beyond the octagon isn’t much of a surprise either. However, the aftershock of one of 2011’s finest welterweight bouts has left MMA pundits a tad perplexed.
For those who missed the fight, Nick Diaz managed to escape a rocky first round to turn things around and batter Penn for the better portion of the following two frames. In the end, the judges awarded the unanimous decision victory to Diaz, who clearly outworked the rugged Hawaiian as the fight progressed. Emotions ran high following the bout, but accounts indicated that both Penn and Diaz exchanged mutual respect backstage after the fight had taken place (there’s even an image floating about of the two posing together, black and blue, seemingly on good terms).
The fact that there were no overt acts of disrespect immediately following the bout seemed a clear indicator that the fight would simply be remembered as a barn burner that aided in the career ascent of Nick Diaz. Months distanced from the bout however, B.J. Penn tapped into his fickle ways, and began a questionable verbal assault aimed at Diaz and his coach, Cesar Gracie.
Penn, who in the past, has had no qualms with accusing opponents of cheating, or showcasing a few unprofessional in cage antics (anyone remember the Sherk bird?) went on the record, bashing Diaz for his disrespectful ways before, during and after their battle. According to Penn’s camp, the Hawaiian was rattled by some ruckus at the weigh ins, a shove in between rounds, and some verbal barbs thrown at his corner upon the conclusion of their three round affair.
Cesar Gracie Weighs In
Diaz has kept mum for the most part, though his longtime mentor Cesar Gracie did fire back via the wonderful world wide web, although he hardly crossed any detrimental lines in the process. The fact that Gracie would voice his opinion at all however, seemed to climb under Penn’s skin; shortly after Cesar issued his rebuttal, Penn was back on the offensive, going so far as to warn Gracie of potential bodily damage should the two meet face to face.
Still, Diaz has kept his trademark temper under control. The question however is, how long will the brash Stockton representative tolerate Penn’s temperament? Nick’s never been one to let much slide, and despite the fact that these two once shared a respectful relationship, it’s hard to imagine Diaz’s emotions’ not eventually getting the best of him.
Outside Looking In
From the outside looking in, it seems as though Penn is attempting to talk his way into another high profile rematch. But one must ponder, is that the route the former champion truly desires? He absorbed a considerable amount of damage in their first encounter, and while possible, a second fight between the two isn’t likely to produce a different outcome. But, regardless of the outcome, I’ve got to ponder: will a second bout serve to settle the differences between these two, or is peace between B.J. Penn and Nick Diaz an official impossibility?
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