The "Nick Diaz to professional boxing" train just came to a screeching halt.
That's because the Strikeforce welterweight champion is apparently poised to receive the opportunity of a lifetime, according to a press release from Don Chagrin today.
As his manager, Cesar Gracie, tells it:
"There are some people that have said we were just posturing to go into professional boxing and they don't understand that this thing is something we had been working on since 2009. It wasn't just out of nowhere but at this point in time, there's a certain chance that comes along once in a very long while and it only makes sense to stick to MMA as of right now. Nick's been working really hard to get to this point in his MMA career and it wouldn't make sense for us to make that transition into boxing right now. If this were a couple months ago or if certain fights had played out differently, we'd definitely be ready to go into boxing, but that's not how it played out. Don Chargin is a great boxing promoter and he understood our dilemma completely and I thank him for that."
Well, that's interesting. Perhaps that title unification superfight against Georges St. Pierre has come to be? Or maybe even a coaching slot on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 14?
Dana White has remained adamant that a deal is not done yet and that, of course, there are plenty of obstacles in delivering a Diaz return to the Octagon.
The UFC president reportedly met with the Strikeforce title holder as recently as last week and it would seem highly convenient the foul-mouthed fight monger is dismissing his boxing aspirations just days later.
More from Don Chagrin:
"Nick is a good kid and a very exciting fighter. Right now he has an opportunity of a lifetime as it pertains to his MMA career. While I don't doubt that Nick and his team were serious about taking the big step into boxing, it only makes sense for him to finish what he started and see how far he can go in MMA before he does anything in boxing. It's all about timing... we began these discussions over two years ago and nobody would have imagined the type of demand that there currently is for Nick as a mixed martial artist. I've had a long promotional career filled with numerous big events dating back the 1960s. Taking Nick Diaz into boxing would have undoubtedly been a big one but this is Nick's career and his legacy as a MMA fighter needs to be solidified now. I wish him all the luck going forward and know that Zuffa will have itself one very exciting fighter for many years to come."
Indeed, Diaz vs. Jeff Lacy for the fall of 2011 was signed, sealed and delivered, but with the agreement that Diaz could back out of the bout at any time in the event better opportunities arose within mixed martial arts.
And here we are.
Diaz, who recently scored an improbable come-from-behind victory via first round technical knockout over British striker Paul "Semtex" Daley back on April 9, has been vocal about finding new challenges outside the Strikeforce promotion.
The Stockton, Calif., native is riding a 10-fight win streak and has finished all but one of his opponents in dominating fashion.
He's maintained the whole way that while he despises his "miserable" life of training and eating and training and fighting and training, he just wants to get paid.
A date with perennial pay-per-view powerhouse Georges St. Pierre would surely line his pockets with paper.
It's never a good idea to "Rush" to conclusions, of course, but that smoke over in the 209? Yeah, it's probably accompanied by fire.