(Hipster, please. PicProps: GBRing)
Nick Diaz, it seems, is the new Tapout. Perhaps taking his cue from Jason “Mayhem” Miller’s iron-on awesomeness, Shinya Aoki showed up for a Dream.16 prefight press conference in Tokyo over the weekend sporting his own Diaz T-shirt. Where Miller’s shirt was straightforward and to-the-point, Aoki’s – which is manufactured by the TwoThree clothing company – was a bit more verbose. Seriously, this has to be considered the most unlikely MMA fashion trend since Jesus Didn’t Tap and a muddled attempt to figure out what it all means is after the jump.
Since Aoki – who also made it clear he didn’t appreciate “indiscreet reporters
asking negative questions,” at the press conference — has something of a heel gimmick going in Japan, we assume he’s being ironic here. Because the TwoThree shirt makes a number of dubious claims about Diaz’s character and because Aoki is coming off a five-round ass-kicking by Diaz teammate Gilbert Melendez, it’s not hard to imagine that Aoki is prodding Diaz a bit by sporting the limited edition Tee to the media event. Diaz, as we all know, has always been very proddable.
The strangest part is that Aoki is already booked to appear in a non-title fight against Marcus Aurelio at Dream.16. Also, Diaz assumedly won’t be there, but Miller will. Dream confirmed with a post on its official YouTube page that Mayhem will be taking on Kazushi Sakuraba at the event. So there’s that.
But if Aoki is somehow trying to talk his way into a fight with the Strikeforce welterweight champion, he should be warned that modeling Diaz’s merch hasn’t proved that effective in recent history. It sure didn’t work for Miller. Instead of capitalizing on the built-in hype surrounding that pair, Strikeforce chose to try to revive Diaz’s feud with lightweight fighter KJ Noons from almost three years ago. That extremely quizzical matchup goes down in October.
Diaz has been keeping an uncharacteristically low profile throughout all this. It’s been some time since he mumbled his way through one his of trademark self-shot YouTube retorts. He has not yet publicly responded to Miller’s claims that he is scared to fight. Now with the emergence of the Aoki T-shirt stunt, we can only assume a witty rejoinder from the de facto Mayor of Stockton will be forthcoming.