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The Diaz Dilemma: MMA Isn’t a Beauty Pageant

Bellator Season 5 kicks off tonight with the start of their wide-open welterweight tournament. Strikeforce has a stacked card, top to bottom, and the continuation of the heavyweight grand prix set to go down tonight. UFC 137 is a month and a half away.

Guess which event stole the headlines this past week…

On Wednesday, Dana White announced that Nick Diaz was out of his UFC welterweight title fight against Georges St. Pierre after missing multiple media appearances. Taking his place would be Carlos Condit, who was originally scheduled to fight B.J. Penn on the same card.

UFC showed a lot of testicular fortitude in making this decision. They didn’t slap Diaz on the wrist for missing a couple of press conferences, they punched him in the face and knocked him down. They took away the biggest opportunity and payday of his career and said, “If you want to be in a big fight, you have to help us promote the big fight.”

On the surface, missing a couple of press conferences doesn’t seem like a big deal. But UFC made is a big deal by pulling Diaz from the fight. If he had just fined Nick, this would have all blown over and people would have just chalked it up to “Diaz being Diaz.” Instead, Dana had to rant and rave about Diaz being “unprofessional” and how he’s “never dealt with something like this before.”

UFC knew what they were getting themselves into when they moved Diaz over from Strikeforce to UFC. He held up Strikeforce more than once, whether he was unwilling to take a drug test on time or his actions in the last ever Strikeforce show on CBS or his lack of cooperation in trying to put fights together that the fans wanted. Even though we didn’t always know where Diaz was, we knew who he was. He was going to smoke weed, he was going to trash-talk opponents during fights, and he was going to be himself. That’s why so many fans flock to him.

In response to being pulled from the biggest fight of his career, Diaz posted a video of him driving around, cursing at fellow drivers, and apologizing for missing “the beauty pageant.” He acted like he failed to support his daughter on Toddlers & Tiaras. Not only did he offer no real apology, he had no explanation as to why he missed his flights to Canada and Las Vegas. He showed little to no remorse for his actions and made it very difficult for fans to feel sorry for him.

Except UFC did feel sorry for him. Just over 24 hours later, Dana announced that Diaz was back on the UFC 137 event. Not as a guest of Dana’s though. Nope. Dana wasn’t going to make him sit cageside the entire event as a way of saying, “You could have been in there tonight. Instead you’re sitting with me while I Tweet and yell with Joe Rogan.” Instead, Dana is putting Diaz back in the cage, in the co-main event, against Penn.

Diaz couldn’t be trusted to show up and promote the main event, but I guess he can be trusted to show up and promote the co-main event. I guess that makes sense. It’s not like UFC is going to do a Primetime series on the co-main event.

After showing the MMA world how big his cojones were on Wednesday afternoon, Dana quickly put them in Stephanie McMahon’s purse next to Triple H’s on Thursday night.

Maybe Dana and Nick reached an agreement that Nick could do all of his media appearances in his car via FaceTime or Skype. Maybe Diaz swore that, this time, no matter what, this time will be different. He’ll be on his best behavior and prove that he’s a changed man. He’ll put himself on gym arrest so everyone knows where he is at all times. Maybe he did the unthinkable and blackmailed himself, letting Dana know who provides him with his extracurricular substances and if he didn’t do everything asked of him, Dana could turn this man in.

Or maybe nothing changed. Maybe Dana just succumbed to the pressure from fans who spammed his Twitter demanding to see Diaz vs. Penn. It wouldn’t be the first time that Dana has changed a fight based on fan reaction. Or maybe Dana realized that he didn’t have a worthy co-main event because he so strongly dislikes Jon Fitch that he wouldn’t give him the opportunity to rematch Penn so just giving Diaz the fight was the only way to save the card and make Penn happy as well.

I hope Diaz learns from this. Not from UFC’s punishment, or lack thereof, but from his friends and his peers showing disappointment in his actions and from his fans, who were upset that their favorite fighter blew the opportunity that they helped create. I’m not so sure “Diaz being Diaz” or “Classic Nick” is going to cut it anymore. Next time he pulls this, UFC might put him in the opener instead of the co-main event.

We may never know what actually went down between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday night. What I do know is that after punching Diaz in the face and knocking him down, UFC helped up Diaz, gave him a free shot in return, and then slapped him on the wrist as punishment.

PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE

10 COMMENTS
  • TerribleT says:

    Dana put his nutz in Stephanie McMahon’s purse next to Triple H’s huh? WTF ?! MMA fans want to see Diaz fight so Dana made a business decision & he probably didn’t like doing it since BJ now needed an opponent & he needed a legitimate opponent to make the fight worthy of being the co-main event & financially it was a no brainer. So you can stick your nutz in the purse statement up you #*% !!!

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  • Rece Rock says:

    It probably ain’t easy being in DW’s position but he certainly isn”t making it any easier by letting social media and fans overly influence his decision making… It’s one thing to have your ear to the street it’s another thing to let the street do your decision making and tell them “u wanted it u got it” it’s a precedent he don’t want to set… Hey DW Ask Vince McMahon he will tell u it’s his job to tell the fans what they want not the other way around.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  • Rece Rock says:

    The stick your nuts statement is from a current storyline in rasslin… And you know what lamberts right. If this was taking place in bellator and DW was asked about it DW would be laughin at them saying i woulda fired that guy on the spot i dont care what his excuse is…but instead he’s all hey u guys wanted u got it!
    Has the Fox deal brought about a kinder gentler DW… Dare we say Dana 2.0

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  • mu_shin says:

    Come on Rece, McMahon also tells the fighters who wins the fight… Apples and oranges…

    Giving the consumer what they want is the essence of successful business. Dana White and Zuffa et al should deny what the fans demonstrably prefer in the name of some nebulous dangerous precedent? Nick Diaz may have acted like an idiot, but saving his career and restructuring UFC 137 are moves that will return obvious payoffs down the line for the organization. By saving Diaz from himself, the promotion maintains an asset that will unquestionable sell more fights in the future, and as they are in the business of selling fights, seems like a win/win…

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  • Mad_Hatter_XX says:

    It was a business decision. There was prolly some sort of compromise. If they would let Diaz do the presser via SKYPE or conference call you would not have any issues. Just as long as he answers his phone it won’t matter where he is .

    Social Anxiety sucks. Makes one not want to interact with the human race much if any if it can be avoided. Once you get comfortable around someone it isn’t as bad. Not making excuses for Diaz but, part of me understands

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • Rece Rock says:

    I wasn’t knocking the final outcome of this dilema im saying how it came about is a lil ridiculous and yes it was the best business decision to make with the resources available, what left me scratching my head was when he to told the fans he wouldn’t have put Diaz in there to begin with it should have been condit but he gave them what they wanted and then followed up with Diaz vs Bj because it’s what they wanted? Im supposed to believe After all these years of the UFC marketing machine has been spinning and selling fights all of a sudden the fans forced Zuffas hand to make certain moves,? Nah Zuffa just passed the buck so if there’s any disapointment from Diaz they can say hey u wanted it you got it…

    And yes wrestling & mma are two totally different things but they both sell a product that needs to entertain the consumer… Mma obviously isn’t choreographed sports entertainment like wwe but where they both mirror each other is the company making match ups that make $ not nescassarily the fights the standings/rankings would produce so as much as it’s apples & oranges business is business.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • BigDave says:

    Two fucking losers are fighting in the co-main event. I’m hoping the fight sucks and they both get fired so i never see then in the ufc cage again. There coulndn’t be any worse ambassadors for thr sport in one ring unless the brought junie browning in to ref the fight.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  • Batman says:

    I love the wwe reference. Well whoever likes Nick diaz and is his fan probably isn’t disappointed because they know he’s a wanna be gangster that does dumb shit, so it’s expected.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • Screenplaya says:

    Dana, in my opinion, handled this whole thing perfectly. Diaz looks like a buffoon, snags a deserved paycut, BJ gets a quality opponent, and the fans still get two good matchups.

    All this crap about him succumbing to the twitter pressure is ridiculous. He wants happy fans, so he considers their happiness in his decisions. That is smart business.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  • Guthookd says:

    Yeah, fuck Nick Diaz. He’s so irresponsible. He just has no respect for the UFC or the fans. I’m going to cry.

    Oah yeah, that’s right!! I don’t give a damn about the UFC, Zuffa, the fans, or press conferences! I just like fights……….as for Nick Diaz….I love him. Can’t get enough of his crazy ass antics.

    I think people talking all kinds of crap about “what’s good for the sport” and such, just need to shut up and let it play out. Not everyone is going to fit the mold, and guess what – when they don’t, they don’t have to appologize!! All they have to do is except the consequences and find another fight.

    Nick is my favorite gangster of all time and I’ll be watching him fight where ever and when ever he does it….and I sure as hell don’t give a shit about press conferences or his relationship with Zuffa or any of that other crap.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

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