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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
When UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre woke up on Wednesday morning, he was prepared to meet up with his UFC 137 opponent Nick Diaz at a press conference in Las Vegas this afternoon. But for the second straight press conference promoting their fight this week, Diaz was nowhere to be found, and St-Pierre was left to handle media duties on his own.
However, something would be done about that this time around, as St-Pierre found out he had another opponent for the October 29 event in Carlos Condit.
St-Pierre was in disbelief throughout this afternoon's press conference, struggling to comprehend how Diaz could allow this to happen and allow himself to lose his biggest fight ever.
"There are three partners to promote the fight. There's the UFC, [but] they need me and they need Nick Diaz," St-Pierre said of their duties in hyping a fight. "I showed up to do my job, and Nick Diaz didn't, and there are consequences. I just learned the news a few minutes ago… I don't have the words, I'm caught off guard completely. I would never have done something like that. I don't understand how someone doesn't show up for an opportunity like this, I just can't believe it, it's crazy."
A clearly disappointed Dana White wasn't entirely surprised in the situation, and admitted that he knew what he got himself into when he signed Diaz earlier this year. Nick Diaz skipping out on media duties was commonplace throughout his time in Strikeforce, but White said Diaz was adamant that he was going to do what the UFC needed him to do in order to promote the event when he signed.
"I'd be a liar if I was standing up here telling you I didn't know what I was getting into when I made this fight," White admitted. "I expected some problems and some headaches, but I didn't expect this."
"Nick Diaz can't handle the pressure of a main event of this magnitude, that's what I think. It's absolutely insane. The kid flew out, sat in my office and signed a contract and said to my face he was going to do everything we needed him to do. And we're not asking him to do anything we're not asking GSP to do, either."
While he was frustrated himself, St-Pierre cracked a few jokes about the situation, wondering whether or not Diaz would pop out from behind a curtain at some point during the proceedings.
"Maybe he's been taken away by aliens," St-Pierre said, laughing. "Maybe he's going to show up, walk in, and call me names. To me it doesn't make sense. I worked all my life for these opportunities. I just don't understand [why this would happen]. His life would have changed completely."
Penick's Analysis: No one expected Diaz to be a model employee, but there is a certain level of professionalism that the UFC expects and that Diaz was expected to adhere to. Saying you'll show up only to flake out on three flights, and failing to show up for the second press conference after your manager assures that you'll be there is just unacceptable. There's no other way around that, it's unacceptable, and when his manager can't find him and he's not responding to phone calls, the UFC making this move isn't at all a surprise. Like White said, it makes more sense to scrap that fight now than have Diaz not show up for the event on October 29. This is a crappy situation, and the fans are suffering as a result, but the door has now been opened for Carlos Condit to get his first title fight in the UFC. He may even be a more dangerous opponent for St-Pierre, and while I'm disappointed in the loss of this fight, I'm excited for the prospects of the new main event.
[Georges St-Pierre art by Travis Beaven (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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