Carlos Condit is now gearing up for a much bigger fight come October. | Photo: Dave Mandel
Nick Diaz apparently wouldn’t play the game.
After a pair of no-shows at two press conferences on consecutive days, the former Strikeforce welterweight champion has been removed from his UFC 137 showdown with reigning UFC king Georges St. Pierre. In his stead, former WEC titleholder Carlos Condit will challenge St. Pierre.
“Nick Diaz has lost his opportunity at the welterweight championship, and Carlos Condit gets it,” said UFC President Dana White at a Tuesday press conference in Las Vegas, which Diaz failed to attend. “I’ve had my reservations with Nick Diaz for some time now. We haven’t heard from him. He hasn’t returned my calls. When we brought him in to sign to fight Georges, I told him that all purses he’s ever made up won’t add up to as much as he would make in this fight. But I told him I needed him to do certain things. You have to promote the fight. You have to show up for pressers. You can’t start fights at fights.”
Not surprisingly, Condit jumped at the opportunity when White called “The Natural Born Killer” to offer him a shot at the welterweight belt.
“When we called Carlos for this fight, he started crying and had to call us back 15 minutes later,” White said. “Condit deserves this shot. He’s the guy.”
Condit had originally been slated to face B.J. Penn at the Oct. 29 event. Penn is now left without an opponent, though White stated that he had a backup opponent in mind for the former two-division champion.
“I’m going to have one seriously pissed off Hawaiian I’m going to have to deal with,” said White, who declined to elaborate on his specific plans for Penn at the event.
Shortly after White informed the media that he had yet to hear back from Diaz’s trainer and manager, Cesar Gracie, the UFC box received a call from Gracie while standing at the podium.
“Cesar just said, ‘I agree with what you’re doing 100-percent. I’ve been trying to chase Nick Diaz all around town,’” White relayed.
Champ St. Pierre expressed his disbelief at the challenger’s absence, stating that, although he does not enjoy participating in press tours, he does it to honor his contract and his partners in promotion.
“I despise doing this. I don’t like the staredown, the face-to-face, the pictures, the click-click,” said St. Pierre. “I don’t like doing this, but I have to do it. It’s the contract. To promote the fight, you need three entities: the organization and the two fighters. And one fighter didn’t do his job. If you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for your family. It’s a little bit selfish.”
When asked if he could have taken further measures to ensure that the notoriously apathetic Diaz would in fact make it to the Las Vegas presser, White asserted that he had confirmation of the fighter’s whereabouts before he unexpectedly took flight.
“Cesar Gracie had him in his house,” said White. “Nick snuck out the back door. Nobody has been able to find him. If I had known this would happen, I never would have made this fight. We’ve spent $15,000 in just flights for Nick Diaz in the last couple days. It’s a pretty big financial blow.”