Former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz was slated to take on reigning UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre in UFC 137’s main event. Instead, thanks to decisions he made away from the ring, Diaz will be watching someone else challenge St-Pierre on Oct. 29.
UFC president Dana White removed Diaz from the main event after the fighter failed to show up for back-to-back pre-fight press conferences. Although Diaz has skipped such media events throughout his career as a Strikeforce fighter, he had promised White he would appear at all required UFC promotional events. Since he broke his promise, offered no reason for his behavior and remained unavailable even to his teammates, White felt he had no choice but to remove Diaz from the event.
Now, instead of the most dominant fighter in Strikeforce history going up against St-Pierre for the UFC title, St-Pierre’s teammate Carlos Condit will get a shot.
A Diaz/St-Pierre matchup would have probably boosted the event’s TV ratings. However, White had sent a message to all UFC athletes emphasizing that pre-fight press conferences are important to the sport, even if they may seem like a chore to attend.
Diaz’s decision to blow off what he presumably felt was a non-essential part of his job may not be unusual in professional sports [see Allen Iverson’s legendary practice rant], but it does illustrate the severe consequences that can ensue when an athlete fails to meet his obligations outside the ring.