UFC veteran Nick Diaz has had a long history with fighting. Ever since he was a kid growing up in a rough part of California in his hometown of Stockton, the bad boy from the 209 says that fighting always found him.
Diaz recently did an interview with High Times about growing up fighting and how contrary to what many people might think of him, says that he is not a violent person.
“Life chose me. The upside is, I might not have to fight. A lot of these guys in the MMA and all other fighters out there will say they love to fight. I’m going to tell you all that I’m a nonviolent person—I’m not somebody who loves to fight. I fight because I have to. If there was any quit in me, I never would have made it this far. So it’s kind of hard. It’s kind of a curse.”
Diaz expands on his youth and inspiration for martial arts and why he says he has had to fight.
“I use to live in, like, some pretty slummy areas around Stockton. I was getting in fights in first and second grade with Mexican kids, Asian kids, black kids. You’d get in fights—everybody would. Out here, you get in fights when you’re a kid, unless you go to a private school—and I didn’t go to a private school. This led me to want to do more martial arts. I was a huge Jean-Claude Van Damme fan: I’d act like him, do kicks like him, do the splits. I was a Van Damme wannabe!
“But nobody supported that. My parents weren’t like: “Oh yeah, he loves Van Damme.” Nobody really supported that, but my uncle did aikido, so it was easy for them to sign me up. Anything they could do to get rid of me for a little while, you know?”
For Diaz fans, you can thank Stockton and Jean-Claude Van Damme for creating one of the most entertaining fighters in mixed martial arts today.