Big trouble (again) in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) paradise.
Just last week, UFC President Dana White was complaining at the UFC on FUEL TV 7 post-event media scrum that Nick Diaz had "no showed" three planned "Countdown" show interviews, costing the world's leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion "tons of money" and making him rethink his decision to award the historically unreliable media participant a 170-pound title shot against Georges St. Pierre.
After all, Diaz was removed from a championship fight against "Rush" at UFC 137 back in Oct. 2011 because he didn't want to get on an airplane, fly 1,000's of miles and answer annoying questions from uninspired MMA media. He just wants to fight!
Well, White made it crystal clear then -- and ever since -- that if you don't want to play the pivotal promotional game, then you won't play inside his Octagon, at least not for a world title. So when Diaz recently returned from year-long suspension (marijuana metabolites) and St. Pierre informed White that he had "unfinished business" to settle with the Stockton, Calif., scrapper the bout was (perhaps reluctantly) re-booked much to the chagrin of rightful 170-pound No. 1 contender Johny Hendricks.
Things seemingly started off on the right foot, with "Mr. Nice Guy" Diaz appearing for the first UFC 158 press conference just last month. However, White then revealed the aforementioned "Countdown" transgressions, giving many fight fans -- especially White -- a case of, "Here We Go Again!"
Diaz's lawyer responded swiftly to White's recent claim, saying that he was "mistaken" and that Diaz was being a "professional" when it came to his UFC 158 promotional responsibilities. Diaz even chirped that it was, "some bullshit."
Regardless, one week later at the UFC 157 post-event media scrum, White stuck to his guns. In addition, he sent a message that he was once again near his breaking point and "very close" to going in a different direction with less than one month until fight night at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
"I wasn't happy about his lawyer's supposed comments that it wasn't true and all this other stuff. So, we talked two nights ago or something and straightened it out. He did not [show up]. And neither did his brother Nate. And we spent $50,000 -- over $50,000 in production costs -- with guys cruising around Stockton, California, and not interviewing people. It's not funny. Listen, we're very cool and very lenient in a lot of ways -- look at this company, we're lenient with a lot of things, we let a lot of things fly. But, that's just absolute bullshit, you know? It's not cool. We've treated Nate and Nick with respect. Anytime they come in and want to negotiate their contracts -- we do the things, we're good to everybody. At least give us the respect, show up and not blow $50,000 on not showing up for interviews that you are supposed to do. And then for Cesar to go out, and Tweet what he Tweeted -- and I talked to Cesar about it, too. I hope we don't come to [pulling him from UFC 158]. Can you tell I'm close? I'm close, man, I'm really close. And I don't want to be, I don't want to do this. It sucks, none of this is easy.... I've shown the Diaz brothers a ton of respect, they can show some respect back."
White mentioned before this whole charade even began back when the initial announcement was made that St. Pierre will fight at UFC 158 "with or without" Diaz. Indeed, Hendricks' number is likely on White's speed dial, eager and willing to get promoted from his co-main event fight with Carlos Condit, which is scheduled for the same night, and compete for what most fight fans is rightfully his in the first place.
For what it's worth, White did admit that Nick Diaz had satisfied his most recent "Countdown" obligation after this latest dust up. However, one has to imagine that even a minor slip up or miscommunication at this agitated stage could turn the UFC 158 fight card on its head.