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Nick Diaz Back On UFC 137 Vs. BJ Penn…Huh?

Nick Diaz will fight Georges St-Pierre in October at UFC 137Dana White pulled a bold yet questionable move last week when it pulled Nick Diaz from his scheduled fight with Georges St-Pierre at UFC 137 after Diaz missed two press conferences. In what has to be an even stranger move, the UFC rebooked Diaz the next day on the same show.

I didn’t agree with it but I understood it when Dana White pulled Diaz from the UFC 137 main event after missing two press conferences. As a fan, I was extremely disappointed. However, I do understand that the UFC needed to prevent Diaz from setting a precedent. Letting Diaz get away with missing the press conferences would allow future fighters to just simply not show up if they didn’t care to do press. I get it, but the next move was beyond bizarre.

Most expected Diaz to be fired, yet Dana White said that he hadn’t made a decision. Diaz made his situation theoretically worse by posting a video a few hours later trashing the UFC, accusing them of protecting GSP. It was easily assumed that with Diaz on the bubble he’d be gone. That is why I was stunned when the UFC announced that they rebooked Diaz against BJ Penn on the same card.

This just makes zero sense. First off, I am still a little surprised that the UFC left millions of dollars on the table by canceling a fight over a missed press conference. If the logic behind a press conference was to draw interest in the fight, wouldn’t Diaz missing the press conference and angering GSP and Dana White have drawn more interest to the fight? I would argue that by Diaz not showing up, it would add to his MMA reputation and do more to polarize the UFC audience than anything he would have said at the presser. I get it and the UFC didn’t want to set a precedent, but there is always an exception to the rule when it comes to the best interest of business.

That is why I am just shocked that they rebooked him on the same card. The guy has figuratively cost the company millions of dollars, so they punish him with an easier opponent and a big pay day? Will Diaz make more than he would have against GSP? Of course not, but neither will the UFC, yet they will still both make plenty of money off of UFC 137. If the UFC was trying to teach Nick Diaz a lesson, the lesson here would be that Nick Diaz will actually wind up making more money off of no-showing a press conference by fighting Penn and his next fight against GSP. That’ll teach him!

Why even keep Diaz in the UFC to begin with? The problem here is a lack of trust between Diaz and Dana White. So what if Diaz goes in there and destroys Penn at UFC 137? What is next? Thinking logically, it would be a UFC welterweight title shot against GSP. So what happens then? Will the UFC book the fight and cancel again when Diaz doesn’t show up for a press conference? My point is, by keeping the guy in the UFC he will likely run through the division. Why would you have him take out the challengers if he is never going to get a title shot? If he is getting a title shot, why did you cancel it in the first place?

The obvious answer here is that Diaz is a big MMA drawing card. The UFC have a lot of shows booked next year and only a handful of drawing cards. I am not naïve and I understand that in the end, Diaz is getting preferential treatment because he is a star. That is fine. But then why cancel in the first place and cheat the fans out of the biggest money fight of the year?

My only guess here is that the UFC never expected Diaz to take the Penn fight. Maybe there was a clause in his contract that gave Diaz a payout if he was cut? Penn trains with the Diaz brothers and both are Gracie students. The only thing I can think of is that they expected Diaz to refuse to fight a fellow Gracie student and breach his contract/quit. Otherwise, none of this makes sense.

In a perfect world cooler heads will prevail and the card will be shifted back to what it originally was. In the real world that isn’t going to happen. Dana White may think that he has sent a message, but the only message being sent in my point of view is that the UFC is desperate and will do whatever it takes to hold on to their draws, even if it means cutting off their nose to spite their face.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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