Eye Of The Fan 10.5.11
Welcome to this edition of Eye of the Fan. We are going to take a step away from the action in the arena and focus on some key situations that have played out outside of it. More specifically how they affected one of the biggest cards of the year, UFC 137. With so much on my mind, I felt the need to break this up into a couple of parts. Part 1 will focus on what we lost and why. Part 2 will be what we get instead and if it is an adequate replacement. None of this is breaking news, but I feel it needs to be addressed from a fans perspective.
To put it like my man Goldie would, HERE WE GO!
When it was announced that Strikeforce WW Champion Nick Diaz would be challenging Georges St. Pierre for his UFC title at UFC 137, the first thought that came to mind was, FINALLY! His skills make him more than worthy but what goes on in his head (or at times, the lack thereof) is always a bonus. If you are not familiar with Nick Diaz and the pure gold that are his interviews, take a moment and look him up. From classics like, “Back in the day, a Ninja didn’t have his girlfriend sitting in the tree waiting to kill sh**.” To, “If you’re getting paid more than me, I’m definitely more excited about this a** whooping I’m gonna put down on you.” Let us not forget his answer to the question about marijuana smoking getting in the way of his fighting career. His reply, “Actually, on the contrary, my fight career has gotten in the way of my marijuana smoking.” With responses like these, Diaz was sure to bring his unique perspective on life to the big stage. Sure some fans could care less about press conferences but they are a big part of the fight game. So when Diaz decided to no show a presser in Toronto, we took notice. Many will argue he probably had a good reason. Reasons like, he was too busy training or maybe it was visa issues. So we let that one slide since there will be plenty more chances to see and hear Diaz keeping it real. We didn’t have to wait too long for that since there was another presser in 2 days. With this one in Vegas there really is no excuse not to make it. So it was a huge shock when the press conference started with a video announcement.
Diaz had been dropped and the main event was now GSP vs Carlos Condit. Ok let’s take a step back and think about this for a second. We had an amazing Main and Co main event before the switch. Before the change we had the GSP vs Diaz fight and a huge fight in BJ Penn vs Carlos Condit. Winner of the Co Main Event was to get a shot at the winner of the title fight between GSP and Diaz. Both of these fights were dream fights for many of us. Condit has been on a terror and has been stopping people in brutally exciting fashion. When matched up with the proud Hawaiian, we had the makings of a fight that could have been one for the history books. Forget potential fight of the year, we had the potential to have a fight for the ages. Now both of these mega fights are gone. For some odd reason, people are blaming Dana White and even more hilarious, GSP. Let me start by saying, as fans we have been robbed of two mega fights, even worse as they were on the same night. I just find it hard to cast any blame on GSP, he showed up to both pressers. Should he have demanded to only fight Diaz? I don’t think so, he is the Champ. He doesn’t have to call out anybody. Why should the champ have to stick up for the guy who didn’t even have the respect to show up to the press conference? Last time I checked the press conference was for GSP vs Nick Diaz, not GSP vs nobody. So who should we blame?
Zuffa had to do something to keep this from becoming common. Yes I would have preferred a fine (it’s not my money so why not) for Diaz over being scrapped from the fight. Like I mentioned earlier, some people don’t care about media appearances. As a diehard MMA fan, I look forward to these events. Call me crazy but I want to hear how training is going, hear how they respond to comments made by their opponents and just enjoy all that is MMA related content. This type of promoting helps build the sport and the fan base. Some of you who claim to be “fans” need to get over the mindset that you don’t want or need new fans. We need them for the sport to grow. It is no wonder Dana and Co took an extreme punishment for Diaz. I don’t like the change but I understand why it happened. Deep down, so do you.
That leaves us with Diaz. As a long time Diaz fan, there is no one to blame but him. No conspiracies and no excuses. Don’t sneak out the back door and miss three fights only to blame others. I can’t think of any other profession you could no show/no call for work and not lose your job. Especially if missing work was after the company had booked airfare on more than two occasions to only be stood up. Add in not answering your phone or returning calls and you are asking to be fired. Diaz kept it real and sometimes keeping it real goes wrong. In this case it went wrong to the tune of about $1,000,000 for Nick. It will be hard for me to feel bad when Diaz complains about not making money when he was set to make more than any fight purse he has had, combined. I hope he begins to play the game a little better moving forward. Just because I am a big Diaz fan doesn’t mean I can’t admit when he messed up. Make no mistake about it, he messed up big time. Does that mean he has lost any fans? I doubt it, he fights like no other (except maybe his brother) and if you can sit through them, he gives some of the best interviews.
In part 2 of Eye of the Fans look at UFC 137, we will focus on how the changes have impacted us for the good and the bad. So until next time, enjoy the view from wherever you are right now.