Tell me if you’ve heard this one before – Nick Diaz bitches and Dana White hands him the keys to the castle. For the second time since UFC 137, Diaz has thrown a fit with the UFC President giving him his way. After blowing his initial shot at the UFC Welterweight Championship because he decided that the pre-fight press conferences were unnecessary, White still granted Diaz main event status against B.J. Penn. Of course the UFC was in a bind because an injury sustained by champion Georges St. Pierre caused him to bow out of his title defense against Carlos Condit, but the point remains.
Diaz would go on to defeat Penn via Unanimous Decision and called out St. Pierre in a profanity laced attack claiming that GSP wasn’t really injured and instead was ducking a potential fight with him. At the UFC 137 post fight press conference White claimed that GSP was as angry as he had ever seen him and demanded his next fight be against the Stockton, CA resident as opposed to Condit. White also stated that Condit was okay with the situation and instead would face a yet to be named opponent at UFC 143 in the co-main event. As we would learn later on, Condit was not happy with the situation.
Of course, as luck would have it, GSP’s knee injury would turn out to be much more severe than anyone first thought and he would require surgery keeping him out until the fall of 2012. The natural thing to do for the UFC was to match-up Diaz and Condit which was scheduled for the main event of UFC 143 and would be for an interim title. The winner would then face “Rush” once he was healthy for the right to become the undisputed 170-pound champion.
The anticipation for Diaz-Condit was incredible as the UFC marketing machine was in full effect. White was telling anyone who would listen that this bout could be one of the best the UFC had ever seen. Based upon both fighters’ histories he wasn’t off as both men liked to stand and bang. They also brought a lot of intensity, toughness, and heart into every one of their fights. GSP felt uncomfortable rooting against the fellow Greg Jackson trained Condit, but still harbored a lot of ill will towards Diaz and made no secret of who he was pulling for.
The much anticipated tilt took place this past Saturday night and did not go anywhere near as well as planned. Condit fought a methodical, well-planned fight. He avoided Diaz’s pressure by keeping his feet moving at all times and landed a great deal of leg kicks and seemed to be ahead on the judges scorecards. When Bruce Buffer announced “The Natural Born Killer” as the winner it did not sit well with Diaz or his legion of fans who felt that Condit was awarded for avoiding Diaz at all costs and doing the bare minimum to take home the victory. As Joe Rogan interviewed Diaz after the fight he went into full tantrum mode and claimed he was done with MMA; that he no longer needed to be part of the sport.
It seems as though his threats and promises have worked to his advantage once again as word leaked out yesterday that Condit had not only agreed to, but asked for a rematch with Diaz before his scheduled bout with St. Pierre. Apparently Diaz was able to get under the skin of Condit in much the same way he did with GSP. The entire thing just goes to show you that self promotion is just as important as the fight you put on inside of the cage. The real story here is whether or not the UFC is hoping for a Diaz win so they can finally get the money bout everyone wanted in the first place, but has been canceled on two separate occasions – St. Pierre vs. Diaz.
Diaz lost the bout on all three judges’ scorecards. He won just one round on two of the judges’ cards and was awarded two rounds by the third judge. No one is arguing the fact that Condit fought a safe fight, but is there really a need for an immediate rematch based upon the outcome of the first fight? However, to be honest, this is the best call the UFC could make. Without trying to placate Diaz who seems to know how to push White’s buttons along with his opponents, if this fight doesn’t take place there is a potential nine-month gap between fights for Condit. If that is the case then what was the need to create the interim title in the first place if it was just going to be held up for nearly a year anyways?
The fight was close enough to get these two guys back in the cage as soon as possible. As we have learned in the past the judges aren’t always the most educated, responsible people in the arena at any given time. It’s certainly not fair to ask Condit to wait a minimum of nine months before GSP is ready to fight. This fight will kill three birds with one stone, it keeps Diaz happy, even if it means bowing down to his demands once again, it keeps Condit fresh and it gives more meaning to the interim title. For once the UFC is making the right call.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC