Cesar Gracie (center) had much to say about Nick Diaz’s UFC 137 bout. | Photo: Jeff Sherwood
Cesar Gracie doesn’t believe the UFC compensated Nick Diaz fairly for his win Saturday over B.J. Penn in the UFC 137 main event.
Diaz was originally scheduled to challenge welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre in the headliner. After missing consecutive pre-UFC 137 news conferences, however, Diaz was pulled from the fight and replaced by Carlos Condit. The UFC then moved Diaz to a bout against Penn, which became the main event when St. Pierre injured his knee.
The problem, Gracie told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Rewind” show, is that Diaz’s UFC contract wasn’t set up to compensate him adequately for headlining against someone other than St. Pierre.
“What happened,” said Gracie, Diaz’s longtime coach and manager, “is you can’t pull a guy off a card and then bring him back on: ‘Oh, he’s not good enough to fight. We pulled him out of the card. He can’t be in the main event. Yeah, here you go. Oh, wait a minute, guess what happened? Our little star guy over here, his knee hurts. Oh my God, we need Nick Diaz. Let’s put him back in the main event.’ Everybody wants to see that fight. He delivers. Well, little star guy didn’t fight and Nick Diaz did, but they pulled a lot of money from Nick’s purse because it wasn’t structured for him to make as much if it wasn’t GSP, even though he was the main event now and put the people in the seats.”
Gracie doesn’t think Diaz should have been yanked from the St. Pierre fight in the first place. He suggested that the UFC should have fined Diaz for missing the news conferences, which were scheduled to promote the fight, but that pulling him from the match was, in retrospect, too harsh.
Regardless, in Gracie’s view, Diaz more than made amends with his performance against Penn. He also said that while St. Pierre didn’t fight injured, Diaz did.
“Nick Diaz saved that card. OK?” Gracie said. “That’s what people need to remember when they talk about responsibility, is that he showed up, hamstring injury, knee injury, whatever. He had the same thing. He’s the guy that showed up. He’s the guy that fought his heart out, him and B.J. Penn. They put on a show. They’re two great warriors. They saved the UFC that night.”
UFC President Dana White announced in June that Diaz was leaving Strikeforce to return to the UFC. Diaz had been discussing an interest in boxing at the time, but Gracie said the UFC sweetened its offer to lure him into the Octagon. A multi-year, multi-fight contract was the result, with a title shot against St. Pierre scheduled for October, but of course that shot was nixed and apparently it affected Diaz’s pay.
“That’s a hard pill to swallow,” Gracie said. “I think it’s patently unfair. Myself, in my opinion, that’s unfair. I think Nick obviously knows it’s unfair, and these are talks we’re going to have with Dana White and with the UFC.”
White has already announced that Diaz will get the next crack at St. Pierre come next year, but Gracie said some details need to be worked out first. The manager is optimistic.
“We’ve had good negotiations with Dana before,” he said. “We’re going to put everything on the table, and I’m confident that we’re going to be able to iron all of this out and that Dana will make it right.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 6:25).