With the air still rank with the stench of disappointment, it seems Nick Diaz’s removal from a main event match-up with welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 137 may actually come with a positive in terms of long-term prospects.
UFC President Dana White recently spoke about the situation and mentioned that he’d come around to seeing Diaz’s point of view to an extent and believed the same was true in return regarding the controversial Californian’s respect for media obligations.
“When you’ve got a guy that’s funny like (Quinton Jackson), who speaks as nice as Jon Jones does…the list goes on and on,” White explained in a conversation with MMAJunkie. “But at the end of the day, Diaz isn’t showing up to give some big speeches, and he’s not performing in front of (the press). He’s coming to fight, and that kid shows up to fight.”
“I told him, ‘Listen. You have to show up for the press conference,” White continued. “’You can sit there and (not) say a word. People can ask you questions. Don’t even answer them if you don’t want to. You have to show up. You have to be there.’ We’ll see what happens.”
White also stated that he felt it was his job to manage fighters’ personalities rather than sacrificing the ability to deliver the match-ups fans want to see, as well as credited Diaz’s behavior leading up to UFC 137 as being in previous situations where the “inmates run the asylum”.
“If he’s fighting in Strikeforce before we owned it and doesn’t show up for a press conference, what’s Scott Coker going to do? Cancel the main event? Hell no. That would never happen in a million years,” White elaborated.
Whether White’s optimism pays off down the road remains to be seen but something unquestionably true is his commitment to making things work.
Diaz will face BJ Penn at UFC 137 on October 29 in hopes of winning his eleventh consecutive clash. The outspoken former Strikeforce champion is 25-7 in his career with past victories over Frank Shamrock, Robbie Lawler, KJ Noons, and Paul Daley.