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UFC 137 switcharoo complete as Nick Diaz fills vacancy against B.J. Penn

MMA has always been an “anything can happen” sport coated in “never say never”, a fact given credence Thursday night when UFC President Dana White announced Nick Diaz would face B.J. Penn at UFC 137 a day after Diaz was pulled from the main event against Georges St. Pierre based on his failure to follow through on a few media commitments.

“This is crazy but here we go again! You wanted it so you got it,” White wrote to fans through his Twitter account.

The UFC’s decision to involve Diaz in another major fight on the same card is sure to be a controversial one after months of anticipation were tossed aside yesterday when the former Strikeforce welterweight champ no-showed a press conference in Las Vegas after doing the same in relation to a previous one. Diaz’s behavior drew criticism from fans, his employers, the press, and even trainer/manager Cesar Gracie, typically one of the Californian’s staunchest supporters.

Diaz also made matters worse by going on YouTube shortly thereafter and offering a tongue-in-cheek apology for “missing the beauty pageant”.

His newly-named opponent, Penn, was also affected by Diaz’s lackluster professionalism after watching Carlos Condit, who he was to face at UFC 137, be plucked from the bout and given an opportunity to fight GSP for the championship.

However, the past is the past and the public can now look to the future – specifically October 29 – where Diaz and Penn are concerned. The two former title-holders will enter the Octagon with a combined record of 41-14-2 with 34 finishing performances including twenty TKOs and fourteen submissions.