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The Beatdown: Another amateur diagnosis of Nick Diaz

Sep 13, 2011, 10:07 AM EDT

Nick Diaz, K.J. Noons AP

Cesar Gracie got it right, if you ask me. I’m no doctor, he’s no doctor, but he knows Nick Diaz as well as anyone. Better than me and you, at least. So when his trainer says he thinks Nick Diaz has social anxiety disorder, I’m inclined to agree.

I’ve had that suspicion for years, although conveniently never said anything until now. The suspicion began because Diaz reminds me of Ricky Williams, who has been diagnosed with the disorder. Both men have had painful relationships with the media (Williams famously wore his helmet with a dark visor while reporters interviewed him), and their interviews and answers to questions are equally as strange. Both men should have been or could be superstars, but shy away from it. And of course, they’re both famous for self-medicating with marijuana, despite disastrous consequences to their career.

The latest Diaz fiasco cost him a title shot in what would have been the biggest, and likely most profitable, fight of his career. In the past, he’s complained about not being as well compensated as Georges St. Pierre, the welterweight champion he was about to fight. His chance had finally come to start earning that champion type of money, but he couldn’t bring himself to attend a couple press conferences to promote the event.

It was hardly a normal response and unprecedented for a title opportunity to be lost in that manner. Some thought he may get booted from the organization, but Diaz got off easy with a demotion to an equally exciting (though non-title) fight vs. BJ Penn in the co-main event. Still, he ducked his responsibilities, his boss, the public, and even ducked his trainer when Gracie showed up at his house to get him to the press conference.

“I talked to [UFC President] Dana [White] about this before, and I think a big problem with all of this is Nick has social anxiety,” Gracie said. “He doesn’t like to go and be away from home. He has no trouble fighting in the cage, though.

“He doesn’t feel comfortable being around people. He has a very deep ingrained social anxiety, and it’s something he probably needs help for, I think. I think that’s why he self-medicates with the marijuana. That’s my amateur opinion.”

If Diaz was seeking a second amateur opinion before getting help, I say it makes perfect sense. Two of my most trusted anonymous sources, let’s just call them Google and Wikipedia, gave me some insight into the disorder. If I carefully cherry-pick only the phrases that support my argument, I can make a great case for social anxiety disorder. Observe:

“Impaired ability to function in at least some parts of daily life.

“It exceeds normal ‘shyness’ as it leads to excessive social avoidance and substantial social or occupational impairment.

“Phobias are controlled by escape and avoidance behaviors.

“Some sufferers may use alcohol or other drugs to reduce fears and inhibitions at social events. It is common for sufferers of social phobia to self-medicate in this fashion, especially if they are undiagnosed, untreated, or both; this can lead to alcoholism, eating disorders or other kinds of substance abuse.”

Boom. That’s not Nick Diaz?

There are a variety of characters in the sport, but none with a problem quite like Diaz. The UFC nudged Chuck Liddell into retirement to save his health, support “Rampage” Jackson and others with legal trouble, and flew Lesnar to a top hospital to treat his diverticulitis. Diaz could use a friendly “this isn’t mandatory but you have to go” push toward some counseling from somebody. He needs the support of his company and some non-amateur help to reach his full potential, which is great.

“It’s not the pressure of fighting GSP,” Gracie said. “It’s the pressure of doing a news conference before the fight. Fighting is no pressure because he gets to beat someone up or get beat up.”

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Previously on The Beatdown

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Tim Gilmour is a sports reporter and author of the humor blog LetMeThinkForYou.com. For more NBCSports.com MMA coverage, click here.

  1. Dirty D Fo - Sep 13, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    What about have vaganitis?

  2. cambodianbreastmilk - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    Does having a social anxiety disorder cause you to walk out on your $100 food tab at a sushi restaurant with your scumbag brother about 3yrs ago, while threatening to “beat everyone’s ass” as you ran out the door here in Las Vegas? Just curious.

  3. salsassin - Sep 15, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    Regarding Nick Diaz. He openly smokes weed because he has been ok’d to do it by California law for his diagnosed ADHD.

    Look at the symptoms and you will understand Nick:

    ADD/ADHD is not just a lack of willpower. Persons with ADD/ADHD focus well on things that interest them; but they have a very hard time focusing on things that do not interest them. ADD/ADHD looks very much like a willpower problem, but it isn’t. It’s essentially a chemical problem in the management systems of the brain.
    A person with ADD/ADHD is six times more likely to have another psychiatric or learning disorder than most other people. ADD/ADHD usually overlaps with other disorders.
    Common adult ADD / ADHD symptoms:
    Trouble concentrating and staying focused
    Adults with ADD/ADHD often have difficulty staying focused and attending to daily, mundane tasks. For example, they may be easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds, quickly bounce from one activity to another, or become bored quickly. Symptoms in this category are sometimes overlooked because they are less outwardly disruptive than the ADD/ADHD symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity—but they can be every bit as troublesome. The symptoms of inattention and concentration difficulties include:
    > “Zoning out” without realizing it, even in the middle of a conversation.
    > Extreme distractibility; wandering attention makes it hard to stay on track.
    > Difficulty paying attention or focusing; such as when reading or listening to others.
    > Struggling to complete tasks, even ones that seem simple.
    > Tendency to overlook details, leading to errors or incomplete work.
    > Poor listening skills; hard time remembering conversations and following directions.
    Hyperfocus
    While many are probably aware that people with ADD/ADHD have trouble focusing on tasks that aren’t interesting to them, many may not know that there’s another side: a tendency to become absorbed in tasks that are stimulating and rewarding. This paradoxical symptom is called hyperfocus.
    Hyperfocus is actually a coping mechanism for distraction—a way of tuning out the chaos. It can be so strong that they become oblivious to everything going on around them. For example, they may be so engrossed in a book, a TV show, or their computer that they completely lose track of time and neglect the things they’re supposed to be doing. Hyperfocus can be an asset when channeled into productive activities, but it can also lead to work and relationship problems if left unchecked.
    Disorganization and forgetfulness
    When they have adult ADD/ADHD, life often seems chaotic and out of control. Staying organized and on top of things can be extremely challenging—as is sorting out what information is relevant for the task at hand, prioritizing the things they need to do, keeping track of tasks and responsibilities, and managing their time. Common symptoms of disorganization and forgetfulness include:
    > Poor organizational skills (home, office, desk, or car is extremely messy and cluttered)
    > Tendency to procrastinate
    > Trouble starting and finishing projects
    > Chronic lateness
    > Frequently forgetting appointments, commitments, and deadlines
    > Constantly losing or misplacing things (keys, wallet, phone, documents, bills)
    > underestimating the time it will take they to complete tasks
    Impulsivity
    If they suffer from symptoms in this category, they may have trouble inhibiting their behaviors, comments, and responses. They might act before thinking, or react without considering consequences. They may find themselves interrupting others, blurting out comments, and rushing through tasks without reading instructions. If they have impulse problems, being patient is extremely difficult. For better or for worse, they may go headlong into situations and find themselves in potentially risky circumstances. They may struggle with controlling impulses if they:
    > Frequently interrupt others or talk over them
    > have poor self-control
    > blurt out thoughts that are rude or inappropriate without thinking
    > have addictive tendencies
    > act recklessly or spontaneously without regard for consequences
    > have trouble behaving in socially appropriate ways (such as sitting still during a long meeting)
    Emotional difficulties
    Many adults with ADD/ADHD have a hard time managing their feelings, especially when it comes to emotions like anger or frustration. Common emotional symptoms of adult ADD/ADHD include:
    > Sense of underachievement
    > doesn’t deal well with frustration
    > Easily flustered and stressed out
    > Irritability or mood swings
    > Trouble staying motivated
    > Hypersensitivity to criticism
    > Short, often explosive, temper
    > Low self-esteem and sense of insecurity

    Hyperactivity or restlessness
    Hyperactivity in adults with ADD/ADHD can look the same as it does in kids. They may be highly energetic and perpetually “on the go” as if driven by a motor. For many people with ADD/ADHD, however, the symptoms of hyperactivity become more subtle and internal as they grow older. Common symptoms of hyperactivity in adults include:
    > Feelings of inner restlessness, agitation
    > Tendency to take risks
    > getting bored easily
    > racing thoughts
    > Trouble sitting still; constant fidgeting
    > craving for excitement
    > talking excessively
    > doing a million things at once

    Classic Nick.