After last night’s successful FOX 9 card from Sacramento, California, UFC President Dana White conducted his standard post-fight media scrum and as luck would have it, there was at least one nugget worth reporting on.
As fans know, the last 72 hours have been a busy one for the promotion’s boss. During the time span, the UFC lost its long-time welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre and since then, White has been scurrying around trying to deal with the aftermath.
Given the gravity of “Rush’s” announcement, the promotion’s brass have been busy trying to secure not only a title match between number one and three ranked challengers, Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler (check & done), but also trying to set up a match for the idle and number two ranked, Carlos Condit. The idea or assumption being, that the winner of Condit / “X” would get the winner of Hendricks / Lawler.
As to whom Mr. “X” might be, White apparently had only one name in mind and that was Nick Diaz. However and as it turns out, Diaz had no interest in the fight.
In addressing the subject White summed it up as follows:
“We haven’t talked to anybody I just talked to Nick Diaz. That’s who I had my mind set on. That didn’t work out, so back to the drawing board.”
In terms of why Diaz wouldn’t be interested in a number one contender’s bout and a chance to avenge his UFC 142 interim title loss to Condit, White had no answers. All that Dana had to offer regarding the question was to state the following, “It doesn’t matter why. He just doesn’t like it.”
As the promotion’s president tells the story, he texted Diaz with the proposal and the two entered into a back and forth about the fight. It was decided that they’d get together on Saturday night in Sacramento and hash it out. White stated that they went into a room and he asked Diaz “So, what do you think about this fight?”
To that Nick replied, “I don’t like it” and that was the end of it.
Asked whether or not he was surprised by Diaz’s response, White remarked “no” and went on to state that “you either want to fight or you don’t want to fight” and that he can’t force people to fight if they don’t want to.
Further, White stated that he wasn’t frustrated with Nick, but at the same time he wouldn’t be offering Nick any more fights; that this was it. As White put it, “I told him that. You text me when you’re ready to fight.”
The Condit offer aside, White did state that Nick had told him that “maybe” he’ll be back this coming May. As to why Diaz would elect to come back in May and not accept a fight now, White remarked “I didn’t interview him. I ****ing asked him, he gave me answers and I said okay.”
So there we have it. Diaz was offered a fight / rematch with Carlos Condit, with the winner of that fight getting the new welterweight champion (Hendricks or Lawler) and he turned the offer down in favor of possibly coming back in the spring of next year.
To Nick’s throng of followers the news is bittersweet. On the one hand it sounds as if Nick will be fighting in the UFC next year. However and on the other hand, he is throwing away a phenomenal career opportunity; truly, something that doesn’t come knocking on a fighter’s door every day.
As to why Nick would pass on a Condit rematch and a number one contender’s fight, is anyone’s guess. Nick has always marched to his own drummer and fans can only assume, at least from Diaz’s point of view, that he doesn’t like the tune that’s currently being played; fair enough.
As White said, he can’t force fighters to fight and if Nick doesn’t want to take the opportunity that was put in front of him, there’s precious little that can be done about it.
That said, Diaz’s fans will be able to take some comfort in the fact that their fighter “might” be back in May. It might not be much, but it at least gives Diaz fans some hope to cling to through the coming winter months. It will also give them time to dote over the division’s rankings and come to the conclusion that Nick stands a good chance of finally becoming the welterweight champion. He has all the tools necessary to climb the mountain and stick his flag in its crest. The only thing Nick needs now is the desire.
For the record, the division’s new rankings are as follows:
*Outside picture courtesy of Cagepreporter.com