For Nick Diaz, with his fight against B.J. Penn now just over a week away, the former Strikeforce welterweight champion admits regret when speaking about his missed opportunity to face Georges St-Pierre on the UFC 137 fight card.
Diaz was yanked from the main event slot when he failed to appear at two separate press obligations. The second of which prompted UFC president Dana White to make the decision to pull Diaz from his bout with St-Pierre, although he later gave him a second chance to stay on the card by facing Penn instead.
On Wednesday, the UFC scheduled a media conference call, which is standard practice for the promotion prior to every event. The people scheduled to be on the call included new co-main event fighters Matt Mitrione and Cheick Kongo, as well as B.J. Penn and, of course, Nick Diaz.
For the first 45 minutes of the call, Diaz was a no-show and everybody was wondering if this was déjà vu all over again. Finally, like a magician, Diaz appeared out of nowhere for the final 15 minutes of the call to answer questions.
The first of which was where exactly was he?
“I didn’t even know about a call,” Diaz said on Wednesday. “Nobody called me in the last week or couple days and said that there was a call. Training last night, I went home, got something to eat, went to sleep, woke up, my phone was dead, and then my brother’s telling me that I’m supposed to be on a call. I didn’t know anything about it. It’s as simple as that.”
It was an eerily similar situation to the one back in September when Diaz didn’t show up for a press conference, and the end result was him losing out on a shot at the UFC welterweight title.
According to Diaz, the people that are getting paid to remind him of such duties definitely aren’t pulling their weight, and now all he can do is live with regret for a missed opportunity.
“Of course I have regret,” said Diaz. “I have people that are supposed to take care of stuff, like I got a lawyer or something right, that’s supposed to get paid 100 grand, a ridiculous amount of money. I’ve been living the same since I started since I was 17. I lived down the street from my parents, who I used to live in the same house with, now I live with my brother. I’ve got all these people, business people, and big money people around me trying to make deals. I don’t know anything about that.
“All I know, somebody’s getting paid over 100 grand just to tell me what I’m supposed to do and what I’m not supposed to do. I think for that much money I think I could have had somebody standing around telling me ‘hey, you can’t miss this press conference.’”
Taking a level of personal responsibility, Diaz believes if he would have known more about the press conference back in September, or even the conference call on Wednesday, that he would have been alert and on time for both.
Hindsight what it is, however, Diaz can only move forward with his career.
“If I had read that (contract) over myself, I’d have been a little more cautious and been like ‘oh, I’ve got people getting paid to tell me alright you need to be here or there.’ I feel like if I would have had that, I would have read that (expletive) myself and dealt with things myself and been a little more conscious. I probably would have showed up at that press conference,” Diaz stated.
Always honest, sometimes to a fault, Diaz wasn’t apologizing for his day-to-day demeanor when getting ready for a fight. He’s paid to show up and beat the other man standing across the cage from him, not to placate the press.
“You’ve got to know, I’m not sitting here with my phone waiting for a call. I’m waiting for some training, trying to get some relax time in before I have to go back to another four hours of training,” said Diaz.
UFC president Dana White has said many times that Nick Diaz needs to “play the game, just a little bit” to get by in the promotion. Fifteen minutes on a conference call might just qualify Diaz as playing the game on Wednesday.
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