Montreal—Nick Diaz showed up for the UFC 158 pre-fight press conference and much like the recent media call for the event, the majority of the press conference was the Nick Diaz and Georges St-Pierre show. That dynamic didn’t change during UFC president Dana White’s media scrum that followed the press conference.
White wasted no time in addressing what went down inside Montreal’s Bell Centre on Thursday afternoon, saying, “In terms of craziness that was a 10 out of 10.”
When describing Diaz, the man that could potentially be the UFC’s welterweight champion at the end of the UFC 158 fight card, White said, “He is a fascinating human being, very tough to figure out. What’s important to most people he doesn’t care about. He’s a very unique individual. This is a guy who doesn’t give a shit and doesn’t play by the rules, he isn’t the norm.”
That unique personality could present some real problems for the UFC if Diaz does defeat St-Pierre on Saturday night, something that White addressed by saying that the promotion stops for no fighter, “We don’t change how we do business for one guy. Everybody else has to do it (promotional work).”
The worry of Diaz not showing up to his promotional duties is only one of the concerns the UFC has when it comes to the highly ranked welterweight. Another is the fact that Diaz has been popped twice for marijuana, each time resulting in a suspension. When asked if a third positive test for Diaz would result in a release from the UFC, White replied, “It’s not going to be good. I would say we would probably have to, wouldn’t you agree?”
While St-Pierre seemed frustrated at times by Diaz’s actions, White seemed to take things in stride, maybe because he had learned his lesson, “At one point it drove me crazy,” White said. “But now, it’s not like I came into this fight not knowing what was going to happen.
When you saw me at the press conference back in Vegas I was pissed and now? You have to assume, you have to prepare for things that are going to happen. I’d never seen somebody not show up for the press conference before, it’s never happened. So obviously the first time I was very pissed off. Now that it’s happened, I know what I do when people don’t show up for a press conference. You don’t show up for a press conference, you don’t fight.”
Somewhat surprisingly, White actually had some praise for Diaz, “I don’t want to diminish the open workouts, but you pick and chose your battles, I would prefer him to miss the open workouts than the press conference. Everybody wants to focus on the open workouts, but I think he’s done a pretty good job leading up to this fight, considering he’s Nick Diaz.”
While Diaz often bemoans the fact that his opponents and the UFC portray him as the bad guy, the boss doesn’t agree, “It’s not that he’s a bad guy. I don’t think Nick Diaz is a bad guy. His image that is portrayed, Nick Diaz has never been in trouble in his life. He has no police record, he has none of that stuff, he is a martial artist, he is everything he says he is, he’s just got this, let’s call it unique personality. I’ve never come across anybody like him. I think he has a distorted view of how people look at him. It’s crazy shit like today that make people think he’s the villain.”
While White may not think Diaz is a bad person, he does readily acknowledge that he and the UFC will most likely always be fighting a losing battle in Diaz’s mind, “Are we going to do anything that Nick Diaz likes? I highly doubt it. Nick Diaz is never going to come out and say, ‘you know what I really love the promotion leading up to this fight, the UFC has done a fantastic job of representing me and what I am.’”
It’s doubtful that the drama surrounding Nick Diaz and Georges St-Pierre will end when the final horn sounds on Saturday night inside the Bell Centre, but don’t think the UFC would have it any other way—after all, they knew what they were getting when they booked this fight.
**All quotes obtained first hand.