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Better Late Than Never, Nick Diaz Makes UFC 137 Call a Memorable One

<! mediaid=4541713 Jeff Chiu, AP: img vspace="4" border="1" align="right" hspace="4" src="" alt="" />For the first half-hour or so of Wednesday's UFC 137 pre-fight media call it was déjà vu all over again. He may have had a different opponent this time, but once again former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz was no-showing a UFC media event, and one couldn't help but get the sense that this wouldn't end well for the enigmatic brawler.

Not that Diaz's opponent, B.J. Penn, minded all that much. Penn seemed almost amused by Diaz's absence, telling reporters that he's always enjoyed "watching his antics," and has been a Diaz fan for years in spite of or maybe even somewhat because of them.

"Nick is Nick," Penn said. "He's going to do what he does. For me, it's just that's what he does. ...I enjoy watching the stuff that Nick Diaz does. He doesn't change. He's just always himself."

And then, roughly 40 minutes into the call, Diaz showed up on the line. That's when things got really interesting.

To hear Diaz tell it, he had no idea that there was a conference call scheduled for Wednesday. No one at the UFC had bothered to tell him, he insisted.

"Nobody called me in the last week or couple days or anything and said there was a call," he said, adding that he'd had a hard night of training, gone to sleep, then "woke up, my phone was dead, and my brother's telling me I'm supposed to be on a call. I don't know anything about it. It's as simple as that."

If this sounds familiar, it's because Diaz offered a similar explanation for why he didn't show up to the initial UFC 137 press conferences back when he was supposed to face Georges St-Pierre for the welterweight title.

That mistake resulted in UFC president Dana White pulling him from the main event altogether, but this time White seemed a bit more inclined to give Diaz the benefit of the doubt, judging by his reaction to Diaz's tardiness via Twitter.

"I'm hearing UFC dropped the ball on the Nick Diaz no show today!! SUCKS" White tweeted shortly after news of Diaz's initial no-show spread.

Penn also indicated he'd suffered from a lack of communication with UFC officials lately, saying he heard only through his own website that his bout with Diaz had been elevated to the main event at UFC 137.

"Actually, I have not gotten a call from the UFC or Dana or anyone since...I heard all this news," Penn said. "I found out from BJPenn.com just like everyone else did, that I'm the main event. I haven't talked to anyone. I'm just sitting here and I know the same amount of information that you know."

Of all the people on the call, Penn seemed the least bothered by any of the day's events. Diaz's difficulties attending to his PR responsibilities might give the media "something to talk about," he said, but they didn't annoy him in the least, even when he's left alone to answer all the questions.

"It's no problem, none of this," Penn said. "The only thing that's going to be bothering me is when Nick Diaz is probably punching me in the middle of the Octagon. That's the only time he's going to be bothering me."

Diaz, on the other hand, sounded wholly disinterested one minute and then passionately engaged another. For instance, after initially "plead[ing] the fifth" to a question about whether he had any regrets about his earlier actions, just a few minutes later he offered a different answer to an almost identical question.

"Well yeah, of course I have regret," he said, explaining that he had a lawyer who he believed was making in excess of $100,000 who was somehow to blame for him missing the initial press conferences.

"I've got all these people, business people and big money people around me trying to make deals," Diaz said. "I don't know anything about that. All I know is somebody's getting paid like over a hundred grand just to tell me what I'm supposed to do and what I'm not supposed to do. I'm like, for that much money I think I could have had somebody standing around and telling me, 'Hey, you can't miss this press conference. That voids the whole contract and then you're out. You're not making [expletive]. You're not fighting [expletive]. You ain't making no money. So you have to be at this thing.' It's simple."

Diaz seemed to suggest that the lack of a support system had cost him that time, saying "If I didn't feel like I had that, I would have probably read that [expletive] myself and dealt with things myself and been a little more cautious and then I probably would have showed up at that press conference."

As for this conference call, well, at least he made it eventually. While Penn said it wasn't a significant chunk out of his day since "I was just going to take a 30-minute jog today anyway," Diaz obviously had a different take.

"You've got to know I'm not sitting here with my phone, waiting for a call," he said. "I'm waiting for some training. I'm trying to get some relax time before I have to go back for another four hours of training. I'm training hard. I train harder than these guys, I fight harder than these guys, I look better than these guys, and that's why. I don't get no help and I don't worry about no help. That's what takes up all my time, training and trying to become the best in the world here. And that's the best in the world! That's what you're dealing with here. This is a whole world out there and ain't nobody can beat me? That's pretty bad."

Maybe it just goes to show that whether Diaz shows up to talk to the media or avoids it altogether, there's a story in it either way.