Thursday, April 7, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.
SAN DIEGO — Nick Diaz and Paul Daley are two of the biggest trash talkers in mixed martial arts — or at least they used to be.
To the surprise of many, Diaz (24-7, 1 NC) and Daley (27-9-2) haven’t engaged in one heated exchange during their media availability leading up to Saturday’s welterweight title fight at Valley View Casino Center.
When asked to explain the silence at Thursday’s press conference at the Crowne Plaza, Diaz answered appropriately.
“I really don’t have anything to say,” Diaz said.
If Strikeforce wanted tension between the two fighters to promote the bout, which will air on Showtime via tape delay on the west coast at 10 p.m., it hasn’t gotten any.
Even when they faced off for their traditional pre-fight photo, they didn’t get within arms length of each other. Daley has been the more vocal of the two, but he’s mostly spoken positively about Diaz.
“I’m a fan of Nick Diaz,” Daley said. “Unfortunately, I’ve got to fight him. He comes across a little bit funny on a personal level in some interviews but he's a talented guy.”
Theories for their reluctance to speak vary. It’s possible that they both respect each other enough to not get involved in any verbal battles. Or perhaps they are attempting to play mind games against each other by straying from their normal behavior.
Maybe Diaz and Daley, who both also have a reputation to get into brawls, are convinced the fight will sell itself without any sideshow. Some of Daley’s comments suggest that’s the case.
“I expect Nick Diaz to fight,” Daley said. “That’s what he does. That’s what he does best — whether it’s on his back, in top position or whenever he’s boxing. I’m just prepared to fight, and that’s what I’m excited about, the fact that it’s going to be a fight and there’s not going to be any lame (expletive) out.”
UFC extends sponsorship with Bud Light, announces new event
The official beer of the UFC will stay the same for the foreseeable future.
Bud Light renewed its sponsorship contract with the UFC this week, adding an undisclosed amount of years and announcing plans for an annual promotional fight card.
The first Bud Light/UFC event will take place Sept 17 in New Orleans. Spike will televise the card.
UFC President Dana White counts securing Anheuser Busch as a sponsor three years ago as an important moment in growing his company into the business it is today.
“Bud Light’s sponsorship deal with us a few years ago was a milestone for our organization and sport,” White said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more excited about working with Bud Light and continuing our strong relationship.”
Aoki focused on fight, maybe overly so
The press conference got under way shortly after news of another earthquake in Japan spread.
Japanese fighter Shinya Aoki gave a puzzling answer when asked if his family and friends were affected by the disaster.
“I have not heard anything from them yet, but it is not worrying me at this moment if they are safe or not,” Aoki said through a translator, “because I’m a fighter.”
The other Japanese competitor on the card, Tatsuya Kawajiri, said everyone he knew was safe. Kawajiri faces Gilbert Melendez for the lightweight title in the co-headlining bout.
Aoki, who is coming off of a loss to Melendez, fights Lyle Beerbohm.