When the UFC announced that Georges St-Pierre’s next fight would be against Nick Diaz I can’t say that I was all that surprised. The fight, which at one time had been scheduled to be the main event at UFC 137, will be a huge moneymaker and it will have fans and pundits alike talking about it on an almost daily basis until it takes place on March 16. The fight will also have everyone, including the UFC brass, on pins and needles wondering if it will even take place.
Most of the doubt surrounding the fight will be due to Nick Diaz’s, shall we say, enigmatic personality. It’s true that there will be some concern about St-Pierre’s medically repaired ACL heading into the bout. However, that level of doubt will pale in comparison to the ominous dark cloud that will hang over Stockton, Calif. until Diaz is actually locked inside the Octagon with St-Pierre.
Remember this fight was to be the UFC 137 main event, but Diaz was pulled from that fight when he missed, not one, but two scheduled media appearances to promote the fight.
After Diaz was removed from the main event, UFC president Dana White remarked that he would “Never accept his (Diaz’s) word again, never.” The tone of White’s remarks were somewhat ominous, but Diaz was not removed from the card, in fact he was just moved one slot down into the co-main event to face BJ Penn. Big picture, Diaz probably could have been released for his insubordination, but if you think the close call would cause Diaz to fall in line, you would be dead wrong.
Diaz, scheduled to take part in a media call for his bout against Penn, went missing in action for the first part of the call. When he did arrive on the line he blamed his tardiness on a dead phone, but then followed up with the comment:
I’m not sitting here by my phone, waiting for a [conference] call. I’m waiting to train. I’m trying to become the best in the world -- that’s what you’re dealing with, here. This is the whole world out there. Ain’t nobody can beat me.
You would think these past actions would have stuck with White, but when he was asked about the upcoming fight and if he thought Diaz would pull the same stunt again, White seemed to have forgotten that he said he would never take Diaz’s word again:
This is a fight that he wanted. He really wanted this fight bad. And Georges St-Pierre called him out. He’s getting it. So yes, I expect Diaz to be there. Nick Diaz doesn’t return my calls, my texts, nothing. You don’t have to call me, you don’t have to text me, but you do have to show up to the press conference. I would be blown away if he did it twice. It just wouldn’t be a good move.
Will St-Pierre vs. Diaz happen at UFC 158?
Good moves have not been the hallmark of Diaz’s career. You can run down a litany of ill informed actions during Diaz’s career from brawling with Joe Riggs in the hospital to skipping a drug test, to testing positive for marijuana twice, to being involved in an all out brawl with Jason Miller after a Jake Shields bout and it becomes clear that Diaz doesn’t really care too much for doing what he is supposed to do.
Let me be clear, I want to see the St-Pierre versus Diaz fight. I want to believe that Diaz will do the right thing, that he will make all the right moves and that he will be the model employee for the next few months. I’ll even go so far as to say that I wouldn’t mind seeing Diaz defeat St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight crown, because you have no idea how much material that victory would leave me with to write about, but as the saying goes you can wish in one hand and **** in the other, see which one fills up faster.
I understand that White and the UFC can’t come out and vocalize their doubts that this fight is going to take place, but one glance at how they have stacked the card tells you that maybe, just maybe, they’re not as confident in Diaz towing the line as they would like you to believe. With Carlos Condit, Johny Hendricks, Jake Ellenberger, Patrick Cote and Rory MacDonald all booked to fight that night, you can see that there is a fall-back plan ready to be made if something should arise concerning the main event.
That lineup is a smart move, and it may be the way to go in the future, but this type of one weight division heavy fight card has not been the norm as of late for the UFC and you can’t tell me that Nick Diaz’s zaniness didn’t have at least something to do with the lineup that UFC matchmaker Joe Silva put together for Montreal.
Like I said, I want this fight to happen, but would I be blown away if Diaz did something to screw this one up? I absolutely would not be surprised, for if there was ever a fighter that had a loaded gun perpetually pointed at his own foot with one in the chamber and his finger on the trigger it would be Nick Diaz.