This week has been a headache for UFC president Dana White.
He’ll admit that he’s usually presented with hoops to jump through on any given day, but this week was different. In addition to the run-of-the-mill obstacles he has to deal with on a daily basis, White was forced to figure out what to do with Nick Diaz when he decided not to appear for any of his media obligations ahead of his championship fight opposite Georges St-Pierre.
He settled on yanking Diaz from the fight and replacing him with Carlos Condit, who was scheduled to face off against BJ Penn on the same night. Diaz’s future in the UFC hung briefly in the balance, but it was eventually announced that he would be keeping his spot in the promotion for now and would be matched up against Penn.
The situation stole headlines for the week and also much of White’s time; he spoke with Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole about making the choice to keep Diaz around and also about making the deal between he and Penn.
“I called Cesar and said, ‘What would you think about Nick and BJ Penn?'” White said. “And Cesar said, ‘If you’re offering us that fight, we’ll take it.'”
White admitted that dealing with both camps was an arduous process that’s left him a bit worn down, but that, at the end of the day, Diaz is a fighter’s fighter and and a match-up between he and Penn is one that promises fireworks
“To tell you the truth, the excuses he gave me made no sense,” White said. “You’ve interviewed Nick Diaz before. You know what I’m talking about. But I started thinking about this: This kid is a real fighter and I love the BJ Penn-Nick Diaz fight. He always does show up to fight. We have trouble with him doing p.r. We also sometimes have problems with [his brother] Nate, whom I have a great relationship with, in getting him to do his p.r. What basically happened is, Nick freaked out. He disappeared. He told me he couldn’t handle the pressure of the main event. It wasn’t that he couldn’t fight it or wouldn’t have fought it, but all the responsibilities that come with fighting in the main event, he said he couldn’t deal with that. The fighting part is the easy part to him.”
If Diaz beats Penn though, or hangs around in the division picking up victories, it will be hard to deny him a title shot. What happens when Diaz is placed back in that spotlight?
“We’d be right back in that position again,” said White. “But we’ll deal with it when that happens. I have too much [expletive] to do to worry about what might happen down the road. I wake up every morning and find out I have a whole long list of problems to deal with. Nick Diaz took a week out of my life dealing with this, but next week, it’s going to be something new.”
Diaz and Penn will face off this OCtober 29 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.