UFC 158: Nick Diaz Defeating Georges St-Pierre Would Be Disastrous for MMA
As much fan anticipation as there is for the UFC 158 main event between Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz for the welterweight championship, the sport of mixed martial arts needs one outcome: St-Pierre retaining the title.
Few fighters in the world are as purely entertaining as Diaz, because you never know what he is going to do. He is a wild card in every possible sense, but that is not necessarily a good thing.
First, looking at his track record, Diaz could leave the sport of mixed martial arts at a moment's notice. After losing his last fight to Carlos Condit at UFC 143, he made the decision to retire in a post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.
No one really took that retirement threat seriously, and in typical Diaz fashion, he ended his journey into the sunset just a few months later, because he was reportedly looking for a fight with Anderson Silva.
To be fair to Diaz, he is hardly the first person in this sport to retire and then come back when the opportunity to make money presented itself.
Another factor working against Diaz is his drug use. A big reason this fight with St-Pierre has taken nearly two years to come to fruition is because of a one-year suspension given to Diaz due to a failed drug test after his bout with Condit in February 2012.
A drug test for marijuana is hardly the worst thing that has happened to a fighter in UFC. Alistair Overeem would have been fighting for the heavyweight championship if he didn't fail a test for performance-enhancing drugs last year.
Chael Sonnen would have gotten an immediate rematch with Anderson Silva, presumably in early 2011, if he didn't fail a drug test after UFC 117.
From a PR standpoint, what would be worse for UFC?
At least UFC did make Sonnen win two fights before throwing him back in the title picture, but Diaz is a different animal entirely.
Sonnen and Overeem have no problem playing the media game. Those fighters want to be out there, promoting fights and generating interest for the sport. It makes sense, because the more people who want to see you fight, the more money the fighter—and UFC—will make.
Diaz doesn't play that game.
He doesn't like that part of the game and wants no part of it. The reason his fight with St-Pierre at UFC 137 was canceled and he was bumped down to a fight with B.J. Penn, prior to St-Pierre announcing he had a knee injury, was because Diaz flaked on a press event in Toronto leading up to the fight.
White said in an interview with Jim Rome that if Diaz wins this fight and doesn't play ball with UFC, Diaz will be stripped of the title.
So UFC could potentially have a champion who has failed a drug test, has no problems flaking on public appearances and gets stripped of a title after beating arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Everyone knows that Diaz is who he is, and nothing is going to change that. He has been a flake for as long as he has been in mixed martial arts. But because there is money in this fight, UFC had to enable him.
It would just be a stain on the sport of mixed martial arts if Diaz were to win the title, because the odds of him actually losing the title against another fighter, as opposed to just having it taken away from him for not playing by the same rules as everyone else, are slim to none.
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