24 hours ago Nick Diaz was facing the threat of eviction from the UFC after being pulled from his title fight with Georges St.Pierre at UFC 137 in October, but now it turns out he’s set to be thrown into another major bout on the same card.
“This is crazy but here we go again! You wanted it so you got it. Penn vs Diaz [Oct.29th] in Vegas,” UFC President Dana White wrote on Twitter just moments ago.
BJ Penn had of course been the loose end yesterday after his original opponent Carlos Condit was shifted over to fight GSP, and when Dana White admitted that he had someone in mind to face him that would make people “flip out” it set off a day of speculation.
Interest in who the UFC were considering only intensified when Penn himself posted on Twitter that White had just made him “an offer I couldn’t refuse.”
It’s not a huge surprise that it’s Diaz – in fact earlier today I wrote in an article that he was the first person that popped into my mind when Dana White first hinted that he had a plan at the UFC 137 pre-fight press conference.
Still, it’s a big gamble for the UFC to put faith in Diaz to not screw up what’s likely to be his last chance to prove that he can “play the game” on the sport’s biggest stage.
In the end though, While there’s been a lot of drama over the past day or so, the reality is that things haven’t changed a great deal.
If anything the switch makes the two main fights of UFC 137 more competitive. I believe GSP will find the well-rounded Condit more of a challenge than Diaz, while Diaz has a better chance of pulling out a victory away from the champion’s dominant wrestling, though he’ll still have a tough night against Penn.
In fact I’m expecting to hear a few conspiracy theories over the next few days because there’s no doubt that due to all the attention this story has drawn to the event everyone is now talking about it and with all the major fighters still in place this now has the kind of heat behind it that could result in big business at the box office.
Just to make it clear – Personally I don’t believe this is a set-up however suspicious the circumstances may look.
There’s a number of reasons why, but to make a long story short the fact is that what went down yesterday at the pre-fight press conference isn’t the sort of stunt you pull just hours after opening up ticket sales for an event billed as GSP Vs Diaz.
The UFC have made the best of a potentially bad situation though, and they may now be set to reap the rewards.