When Georges St. Pierre went down with injury a few weeks ago, forcing him out of a main event match-up with Carlos Condit at UFC 137, the UFC had a godsend in the form of another fan-friendly pairing on the card between popular welterweights BJ Penn and Nick Diaz. As expected, Diaz and Penn went to war in the show’s featured tilt and delivered one of 2011’s most memorable in-ring encounters.
Now Diaz’s manger, Cesar Gracie, believes his client deserves to be taken care of financially for the impact he had on helping dig UFC 137 out of the hole GSP’s withdrawal created.
“You can’t pull a guy off a card and then bring him back on,” Gracie began in an interview with Sherdog Radio before mimicking the UFC’s position, saying, “‘Oh, he’s not good enough to fight. We pulled him out of the card. He can’t be in the main event. Yeah, here you go. Oh, wait a minute, guess what happened? Our little star guy over here, his knee hurts. Oh my God, we need Nick Diaz. Let’s put him back in the main event.’”
“Everybody wants to see that fight,” Gracie continued on Diaz’s dance with Penn. “He delivers. Well, little star guy didn’t fight and Nick Diaz did, but they pulled a lot of money from Nick’s purse because it wasn’t structured for him to make as much if it wasn’t GSP, even though he was the main event now and put the people in the seats.”
“Nick Diaz saved that card. OK?” Gracie boldly stated. “That’s what people need to remember when they talk about responsibility, is that he showed up, hamstring injury, knee injury, whatever. He had the same thing. He’s the guy that showed up. He’s the guy that fought his heart out, him and BJ Penn. They put on a show. They’re two great warriors. They saved the UFC that night.”
Though some might argue Diaz leapfrogging Condit for a title-shot the “Natural Born Killer” had been promised prior to Saturday night’s show could be a reward in itself, it could also be argued that Gracie makes a fair point in terms of Diaz’s role as a headliner and the effect it had on buyrates/tickets.
In the end, the famed teacher and outspoken manager made his confidence clear regarding the parties’ ability to find a satisfactory resolution.
“We’re going to put everything on the table, and I’m confident that we’re going to be able to iron all of this out and that Dana (White) will make it right,” Gracie concluded.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE