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Nick Diaz’s disappearing act leads to Carlos Condit’s title shot

Condit and Diaz swap spots at UFC 137, as former Strikeforce champion now fights B.J. Penn

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Justin M. Bowen

Carlos Condit celebrates after beating Dong Hyun Kim by TKO in the first found during UFC 132 Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Updated Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011 | 5:43 p.m.

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

A look at Carlos Condit

  • Age: 27
  • UFC Record: 4-1
  • MMA Record: 25-7
  • Out of: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Last time out: Defeated Dong Hyun Kim via first round TKO at UFC 132
  • As soon as Nick Diaz started hiding, Carlos Condit began seeking.

    Specifically, Condit and his manager reached out to the UFC to see if a spot in the UFC 137 welterweight title fight against Georges St. Pierre was open Wednesday morning after Diaz failed to show up for a press tour.

    They likely didn’t have to, as the decision had already been made. UFC President Dana White slotted Condit in as a replacement for Diaz after the former Strikeforce champion missed four booked flights and ran away from everyone to get out of promotional obligations.

    “Of course, (Nick’s) going to be frustrated and disappointed with how things turned out,” said Condit, who arrived in Las Vegas Wednesday afternoon. “But I don’t care what you do for a living: If you don’t show up for your job, you get fired. That’s what happens.”

    Condit spoke to the media for the first time since the unforeseen series of events Thursday morning.

    Like most associated with the UFC, he had no sympathy for Diaz losing the opportunity to fight St. Pierre. White couldn’t get a hold of Diaz for two days, so the Stockton, Calif., native didn’t know he was pulled out of the fight before Wednesday’s press conference.

    Predictably, he was upset by the news and posted a YouTube video to share his feelings.

    “I’m sorry I didn’t make it to the beauty pageant,” Diaz said in a profanity-laced video shot while he was driving. “But I’ve never not showed up to a fight. I’ve never backed out of a fight in my life. That’s not what I do. I just want to throw that out there.”

    The UFC seemingly chose to give Diaz another chance Thursday evening — albeit in a demoted role. White announced through his twitter account that Diaz would fight B.J. Penn in UFC 137's co-main event.

    Penn was originally slated to meet Condit in the bout. A main event is the only type of fight that requires the level of promotion Diaz isn't comfortable with, White noted Wednesday, which is maybe why he was re-booked.

    It was more than just the press conference Diaz missed. The UFC also uses this week to shoot material for its pay-per-view broadcast of the event, which is slated for Oct. 29 at Mandalay Bay Events Center.

    Condit has spent the last day fulfilling the responsibilities at the UFC’s local offices.

    “It’s not only showing up the day of the fight in this business,” Condit said. “You have to promote fights. There’s a lot more to it than just training and fighting at this level. You’ve got to be able to do it all.”

    “If he wasn’t ready to do this thing and do the PR stuff, then he isn’t ready to be a champion.”

    The loss of Diaz does take away some of the marketing appeal for the bout. The promotion can no longer hail UFC 137 as “Champion vs. Champion”.

    More notably, it loses the contrast between St. Pierre’s superstar status and Diaz’s hasty, trash-talking nature. Condit’s demeanor is more along the lines of St. Pierre’s — soft-spoken but confident and welcoming. St. Pierre and White said the new match-up improved other areas, though.

    “I do believe it’s a more dangerous fight,” St. Pierre said. “Condit has way more power, way more diverse attack than Nick Diaz has.”

    Although Condit’s winning streak of four in a row pales in comparison to Diaz’s 10 straight, he’s done it against better competition. Condit has beaten previously undefeated Dong Hyun Kim, former No. 1 contender Dan Hardy and super prospect Rory MacDonald in his last three fights.

    Diaz feasted on a weaker Strikeforce roster with his most notable wins coming against UFC castoff Paul Daley and kickboxer K.J. Noons.

    If Condit would have gotten past Penn in the scheduled co-main event, the promotion already planned to put him against the winner of St. Pierre vs. Diaz. A quicker path to St. Pierre doesn’t bother Condit. It’s something he’s thought about since vacating his WEC title to join the UFC in 2009.

    “My plan is to make the fight uncomfortable in any position he puts me in,” Condit said. “I know he’s a great champion and a great fighter, but I’m willing to challenge him and find out if you are willing to go as far as I am to keep the belt.”

    Condit’s situation may go down as the strangest route to a championship bout in the history of the UFC. He doesn’t mind.

    “I earned it no matter what happened with Diaz and that whole thing,” Condit said. “I believe that I’m legitimately the No. 1 contender.”

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

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