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Dana White: ‘Nick Diaz obviously can’t handle the pressure of a main event’

Nick Diaz skips UFC 137 press tour; Carlos Condit takes place

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Sam Morris

Nick Diaz’s chair sits empty during a news conference to announce the card for UFC 137 Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Diaz was pulled from the fight and replaced with Carlos Condit due to multiple failed media appearances, missed company flights and general disappearance.

UFC 137 News Conference

Georges St. Pierre and Dana White take part in a news conference to announce the card for UFC 137 on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011, at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Nick Diaz was slated to face St. Pierre but was pulled from the fight and replaced with Carlos Condit due to multiple failed media appearances, missed company flights and general disappearance. Launch slideshow »

Nick Diaz removed from UFC fight

KSNV reports on removal of UFC fighter Nick Diaz from upcoming fight card, Sept. 7, 2011.

Video shown at UFC 137 press conference

To fully understand what took place at Mandalay Bay Events Center Wednesday afternoon, according to UFC President Dana White, it’s necessary to rewind four months and look back on a meeting between him and Nick Diaz.

White told Diaz, the Strikeforce welterweight champion who was on a 10-fight winning streak, that he wanted to pay him more than “all the purses you’ve made in your career” combined, to face UFC champion Georges St. Pierre in a title bout. There was one caveat.

Diaz had to change his ways. White made one of mixed martial arts’ most infamous bad boys promise that he would commit to fulfilling media obligations and promoting his UFC 137 main event bout against St. Pierre.

“He looked right in my face and lied to me,” White said. “He said he’d do it.”

Diaz didn’t show up for the UFC 137 press conference Wednesday to promote the pay-per-view fight card scheduled for Oct. 29 at Mandalay Bay. It was Diaz’s second straight absence, as he pulled the same stunt at Tuesday’s press stop in Toronto.

White said Diaz missed four flights, three to Toronto and one to Vegas, booked by the UFC and wasted $15,000 the promotion spent on his travel. No one — not even brother Nate Diaz, according to White — could reach Nick after he snuck out the back door of his manager’s house to miss his third flight.

The unreliability forced White to take Nick Diaz out of the bout and replace him with Carlos Condit, who has won four in a row and was supposed to take on B.J. Penn in the UFC 137 co-main event.

“This kid absolutely deserves this title shot,” White said of Condit. “Not only for what he’s accomplished, but the professional he is. When we called Carlos Condit and offered him this fight, he started crying.”

Condit immediately jumped on a plane to Vegas from his home in Albuquerque, N.M., but couldn’t make the press conference with only two hours notice. He will spend the next two days in town shooting commercials and other promotional material for the UFC.

“The timing was perfect for this to all come together,” Condit said in a statement.

“With me already fighting on that card, I will need to make some adjustments to get ready for a new opponent, but my actual training is right on schedule.”

St. Pierre said he believed Condit presented a bigger challenge than Diaz. The reigning welterweight champion tried to switch his focus solely to Condit Wednesday, but was still in shock over the Diaz situation.

St. Pierre was long bothered by some of the things Diaz said about him. Diaz regularly opined that St. Pierre wasn’t deserving of the hype that made him the UFC’s most notable star. Unlike everyone else, Diaz didn’t believe St. Pierre was one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

But Diaz will have no opportunity to stand behind his words after his bizarre actions.

“I would have never done something like that,” St. Pierre said. “I’ve trained 10 years for this — the UFC, the world title, this. To me, this means everything to me. I just don’t understand how someone doesn’t show up to an important thing like this. I just can’t believe it. It’s amazing. I don’t know what to say. It’s crazy.”

White paused the press conference when he received a call from Cesar Gracie, Diaz’s manager in San Francisco.

“I apologize and I agree with you 100 percent and with what you’re doing,” Gracie said on the call, according to White. “We’re embarrassed. I don’t even know what to say. I haven’t thought much, I’ve been trying to chase Nick Diaz down all around town. No one can find him. He’s hiding from everybody.”

White said he hadn’t decided whether he would cut Diaz from the UFC roster, but it seemed likely. The UFC also hadn’t found the time to discuss potential replacements for Condit to face Penn.

As much as Diaz has accomplished in mixed martial arts, his career has always been partly defined by mistakes — a failed drug test for marijuana, a series of post-fight brawls and numerous missed press events.

But White said none of those missteps compared to what he saw this week.

“I’ve promoted 1,600 fights in my career and this has never, ever happened once,” White said. “Never. We’ve never had a situation where a guy goes M.I.A.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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  1. Dana White is 100% right here. You can argue his temperament, his foul mouthed interviews, his arrogance...but Nick committed to the pre fight regimen. Going AWOL is indefensible.

  2. Yeah, it's too bad. As a fighter I like Diaz. He's got a real SOB persona that works in my opinion (as a fighter.) But look, if they're gonna pay you, do your job. He's blowing his career I am afraid and peeing away his talent. The UFC granted him another shot, and he vacated his strikeforce title to make the transition. For him to blow off his responsibilites at this point makes no sense.

    I have to disagree Daniel Jackson. I like Dana White's (lack of,) PR skills. To me, often times "PR," is just a polite euphamism for "BS."

    Dana is brash and outspoken, but to me his no BS, tell-it-like-it-is style is refreshing in a world that is anything but. He may not always be right, but I respect people who put their honest opinions out there w/o worrying about all the inevitable dispersions that people will cast.

  3. Team SG1, you've got it right. Throughout the mixed martial arts world, which is much larger than the UFC, nobody likes Dana White.

    At some point in time UFC's owners will figure out that they might make more money without Dana White, or be under less public scrutiny (in terms of anti-trust complaints, for example) and Dana White will be gone, because White's got no skin in the game except for his flapping trap.

  4. I just think that in a sport that is trying to be taken seriously, and is unjustifiably illegal in two states when you're trying to show the public that your sport has world class atheletes it only hurts your sport to have a foul-mouthed representative at the helm. It just adds to the ignorant, uneducated, affliction wearing billy-the-bad-a$$ misconception about the sport.

    More clean cut well spoken representatives needed like St Pierre, Brian Stann, Brandon Vera types etc....

    Although I will thank the UFC for their positive side affect they had on boxing. Next weekend when Mayweather wins a snoozer, the undercard actually has decent fights. Something that NEVER happened before the UFC (not mma but the UFC) overtook boxing.

  5. It's strange to me that people want Dana White to wear a suit and give canned responses to everything. Go up to the guy if you see him and tell me that he's arrogant. He's very approachable and is constantly doing things for the fans. Let's see Stern or Goodell tweet that they are at the mall and to come get free tickets. Watch some of his video blogs if you don't believe it. And to compare a hard working responsible man that is directly responsible for the success of the UFC with a pot smoking paranoid thug is ridiculous.

  6. gohugatree - you're totally right! These morons probably don't even know that Dana White is one of the owners of the UFC. You might not like him, but FOX sports sure as hell does, and UFC is going Network. The guy and the sport aren't going anywhere. GET OVER IT!!