Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
UFC President Dana White knew full well the potential for disaster when he slotted Nick Diaz, a fighter not known for his punctuality, into UFC 158's main event opposite UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
So it was more than understandable to hear White's incredulous tone when he revealed to reporters following UFC on FUEL 7 that the former Strikeforce champion has already missed a series of scheduled interviews for the taping of the UFC's traditional Countdown show in advance of March's pay-per-view event.
"Nick Diaz would be an interesting Countdown show if we could get him to show up for those," White mused when a reporter brought up the idea of a Diaz video blog.
"Imagine how good his Countdown show would be. F--king think his video blog would be great? How about if he had a professionally shot, by professionals, the best in the business, the best at cutting and producing features on athletes, imagine how f--king good that would be. First we've got to get him to show up for the f--king interviews, and then we can do it. He missed, how many did he miss? Four? Three. He's missed three."
This is, of course, nothing new. Diaz had previously been awarded the coveted title of No. 1 contender back in late-2011 at UFC 137, however the Stockton native was unceremoniously pulled from the championship bout after missing a press conference and releasing a bizarre video on YouTube explaining his absence.
Likewise, Diaz no-showed a charity Brazilian jiu-jitsu match against Braulio Estima at the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo in 2012 while serving a one-year suspension for failing a post-fight UFC 143 drug test.
"We've got a crew in Stockton for two weeks," White explained. "When we don't do an interview, you know much that costs us? A s--tload on money. Okay? So we've got a f--king crew rolling around Stockton not doing a f--king thing. It costs us a lot of money and we can't properly sell the fight or Nick Diaz."
UFC 158 takes place in less than a month -- March 16, 2013 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada -- so time is of the essence if the UFC's promotional machine hopes to begin working its magic.
"I knew something was going to go bad somewhere," White concluded with a sigh. "It's just, that's Nick."
Update: Following the posting of this story, Jonathan Tweedale, a lawyer with the Nick Diaz camp, contacted MMAFighting.com to refute White's claim.
"Dana is mistaken," Tweedale wrote via e-mail. "There is no 'crew rolling around Stockton,' and Nick did not 'miss' three interviews.
"In fact, several earlier dates were arranged without Nick's knowledge and with no notice to Nick. When Nick learned what had happened, I assisted him in arranging a date and time directly (Thursday, February 14). Nick arrived early and was in good spirits at that February 14 date -- the one and only date he knew about in advance. Nick requires things to be done in an organized and orderly manner. That is the kind of professional he is."
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