All Nick Diaz had to do was show up.
Show up Wednesday afternoon at Mandalay Bay to promote his UFC 137 main event with Georges St. Pierre.
Show up Oct. 29 to try and dethrone the UFC’s welterweight champ and the money—more money than Diaz had ever earned fighting before—awaited.
But for whatever unknown reason, the 28-year-old Stockton, Calif. native—who MMA fans already knew played by his own rules—was a no-show Wednesday — the second press conference he skipped in as many days. His absence forced UFC president Dana White to replace him with Carlos Condit for the Halloween Weekend card.
“I’ve promoted over 1,600 fights in my career. This has never, ever happened once. Never,” said White, addressing a gathering of media members and fans inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center Wednesday.
“We’ve never had a situation where a guy just goes MIA and doesn’t show up for this stuff.”
St. Pierre (22-2 MMA record), who admitted his frustration when Diaz (25-7) skipped Tuesday’s media proceedings in Toronto, was downright shocked after learning the bizarre turn of events had repeated themselves Wednesday morning.
“I don’t understand how someone can not show up to an opportunity like this,” St. Pierre said shaking his head. “I just can’t believe it. It’s amazing. I don’t know what to say. It’s crazy.”
And quite the opportunity for fellow Greg Jackson-trainee Condit (27-5), who earned the shot by winning 12 of his last 13 fights — including four in a row and three straight finishes.
“I’ve been fighting for nearly a decade and there has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears that has gone into that,” Condit said. “A lot of sacrifices have been made both personally and professionally, and I’m looking forward to showing the UFC that I am deserving of this opportunity.”
One that now offers the Albuquerque, New Mexico native the riches that awaited Diaz, and one that the UFC president now knows (and admittedly questioned at the time) Diaz was never prepared for.
“Nick looked right in my face and lied to me and said he would do it,” White said of the mandatory promotional build-up for UFC 137. “Nick Diaz obviously can’t handle the pressure of a main event of this magnitude.”
“I knew what I was getting myself into when you get Nick Diaz. I expected some problems and headaches over the next couple of months. But I didn’t expect this.”
UFC keeps Diaz; now fights B.J. Penn at UFC 137
Despite his bizarre no-shows and unremorseful YouTube rant, Diaz will remain with the UFC and actually is still fighting on the Oct. 29 show he was scheduled to headline. Diaz will now take on former champ B.J. Penn (16-7-2).
“This is crazy but here we go again! You wanted it so you got it. Penn vs Diaz Oct 27th in Vegas,” White tweeted Thursday evening.
Despite his hijinx, Diaz brings a 10-fight win streak into the bout, with his most recent win a a first-round TKO against Paul Daley in his last Strikeforce title defense. Penn, on the other hand, is coming off a draw with Jon Fitch at UFC 127 in February.
UFC 137 Sold Out
Tickets to the Oct. 29 card at the Mandalay Bay Events Center sold out within a few hours after opening to the public on Friday. Tickets initially went on sale to UFC Fight Club Members on Wednesday morning when the main event still included GSP vs. Diaz. White announced the change to St. Pierre against Condit early that afternoon, and then a day later announced Diaz would still be fighting on the same card—and now taking on fan favorite Penn in the co-main event.
“It’s been a crazy few days here at UFC, but there’s no doubt that UFC 137 is going to be an incredible card,” White said. “GSP is on his way to becoming the best welterweight of all-time, but Condit wants that belt. He’s knocked out his last three opponents and couldn’t be more fired up for this fight.”
“Plus, we’ve got BJ Penn taking on Nick Diaz in what could be one of the most intense fights of the year.”