ASSOCIATED PRESS Fighter Georges St-Pierre gets watered down after defeating Jake Shields during the welterweight championship match at UFC 129 mixed martial arts match in Toronto on Saturday, April 30, 2011. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)
LOS ANGELES >> Nick Diaz has lost his shot at Georges St. Pierre’s UFC welterweight title because he wouldn’t attend a news conference.
UFC President Dana White dumped Diaz on Wednesday from the main event at UFC 137 after Diaz failed to show up in Toronto or Las Vegas this week to promote their Oct. 29 bout at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
St. Pierre will defend his title against Carlos Condit instead.
St. Pierre’s meeting with Diaz, the Strikeforce welterweight champion, has been anticipated by mixed martial arts fans since the UFC bought the Strikeforce promotion earlier this year. But Diaz is a mercurial fighter with a history of weird behavior, and his latest inability to catch a plane or return a phone call infuriated White, who said he’s likely to cut Diaz from the UFC.
“It doesn’t make sense to me,” St. Pierre told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “We all work for the same thing. We all work to be a champion, and now he doesn’t want it. Maybe he had a panic attack, I don’t know, but I would never do that.”
White said Diaz gave no explanation for not attending a UFC news conference Tuesday in St. Pierre’s native Canada, and he didn’t show up at another event Wednesday in Las Vegas. The UFC booked Diaz on several flights out of the Bay Area to both cities, but he didn’t show up.
Diaz apparently posted a rambling video on YouTube a few hours after White threw him off the UFC 137 card, calling the decision “ridiculous.” In the video, recorded while Diaz drives through Northern California freeway traffic, the fighter says he’s going back home to Stockton, Calif., from the San Francisco airport.
“I’m sorry I didn’t make it to the beauty pageant, but I’ve never not showed up to a fight, and I’ve never backed out of a fight in my life,” Diaz said in the video. “That’s not what I do.”
Yet Diaz didn’t explain why he couldn’t attend the news conferences, and White said Diaz hadn’t returned his phone calls. Even his manager, Cesar Gracie, agreed with the decision to dump Diaz, White said.
Among several instances of unruly behavior during his successful career in MMA and boxing, Diaz infamously threw a punch that precipitated a brawl in the cage after a Strikeforce event in April 2010 in Nashville, an event broadcast on CBS.
St. Pierre is among the most dominant champions in UFC history with nine straight victories since April 2007. He’s known for his meticulous preparation, but said he wouldn’t have a problem switching opponents just seven weeks out.
“It’s a bad change, but it’s a bad change for the other guy, too,” St. Pierre said. “We can handle it, no problem.”
Condit is a former WEC welterweight champion from Albuquerque with wins in 12 of his last 13 fights. Condit was slated to fight former champion B.J. Penn on the undercard at UFC 137, but welcomed the move up to his first UFC title shot.