The story of the week, by all rights, should have been that the UFC triumphed again and put together a huge heavyweight fight at the end of the year … until Nick Diaz wigged out and went AWOL, missing two beauty pageants press conferences and losing his shot at GSP’s title and all the riches that would follow. Now every MMA site on the web has three stories about the man from the 209, and we won’t start talking about Lesnar-Overeem until mid-September at the earliest.
Dana White told MMAJunkie yesterday that he was working on finding an opponent to replace Carlos Condit, and he obviously had someone in mind, saying “if I told you what I want to do with that fight you guys would flip out, so we’ll see what happens.”
See, White has a real problem in Diaz. The last thing Zuffa wants to do is release him, since he would immediately sign a deal with another promotion like EliteXC or Bellator and be fighting again before Halloween. Despite all the backlash against Diaz in the last twelve hours, he’s still a massively popular fighter because of his style, and White has started to catch on to the fact that cutting fighters too quickly only makes his competition stronger.
Expect the UFC to take the stance that pulling Diaz from the title fight is sufficient punishment for his unreliability and general sketchiness, and for them to carry on with “business as usual” with Diaz. And the first step in that process will be the announcement that Diaz will have to face Baby Jay to start making amends.
A match between the two would be intriguing because both fighters have sharp boxing skills backed up with superlative groundwork, and both fighters have been criticized for inconsistency in the past. Of course, Penn is inconsistent in that you never know who will show up at a BJ Penn fight, while Diaz is not consistently a rational human being. The result: a fight every bit as unpredictable and competitive as Diaz himself.
Now if they can just get him back into the Octagon…