"(Carlos) Condit's in. He's sitting and waiting." -- UFC President Dana White this past Tuesday on whether the outcome of B.J. Penn/Nick Diaz would affect Condit's impending title shot.
How quickly a decision can change, huh?
After Diaz' stirring victory over Penn to close out UFC 137, the question was not if, but when he would get his shot at Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre and atone for his previous anti-press conference sins.
But according to White, Diaz would have to wait. The shot had been given to Condit after Diaz' wacky no-show antics and if not for a knee injury to St. Pierre, that title fight would have happened last night. Unless there was a draw, we would have had a nice clean road to another good championship clash next year with deserving competitors.
What's that saying about the best laid plains? They didn't just go astray last night. They went off the road into the abyss.
At the post-event press conference, White said he had a big announcement and was going to wait for Diaz to appear before he said it. At that point, everyone knew what was up. It was just a question of him saying it. Then he did.
"Georges St. Pierre flipped out tonight after Nick Diaz was in the ring. Nick needs motivation...he's got it. He's going to fight Georges St. Pierre. Carlos Condit has agreed to step aside and get the next guy," White told the media.
The light that started burning the fuse was Diaz' post-fight comments about how St. Pierre (sitting cageside) wasn't injured but he was scared to face him. According to White, he has never seen St. Pierre that upset and had to put together the fight. Amazingly by pure coincidence, the battle for the belt will take place in February during Super Bowl weekend -- generally one of the UFC's biggest PPV weekends of the year.
But according to Condit's manager Malki Kawa, Condit didn't step aside at all and that St. Pierre "is choosing to fight Nick", adding the following on Twitter:
Kawa followed up by saying the situation is what it is and that he was sure White would "make it worth his while" for Condit to not take the fight. But if he doesn't. what is Condit's recourse? He has no leverage.
But fear not! Condit will get a fight on that Super Bowl card against that "next guy". If he wins, he gets the next shot…unless someone else irritates St. Pierre and leapfrogs him again, I guess. At this point, I would assume Fitch or Jake Ellenberger would be Condit's opponent.
Listen, we all know what the deal is here. For a promotion that is being heavily questioned about its dropping pay-per-view buy rates, they need heavy hitters on the docket. St. Pierre vs. Diaz does just that. St. Pierre vs. Condit doesn't. So if you're White, simply say that.
Explain how even though it's sport, the game is still show business and you have to give the people what they want first while always keeping competitive fights in mind. But don't come out and say that Condit stepped aside and that GSP demanded Diaz instead. Condit is a competitor that got a crack at the biggest prize in his division. Remember the story of when Condit broke down in tears upon being told about being given the title opportunity? I do. You're telling me he simply said, "Sure…give Diaz a shot."? Hell, no. He was told, not given an option. To think otherwise is lunacy.
And If you're in the camp of thinking Condit didn't earn this shot to begin with, you're crazy. Aside from Jon Fitch, take Diaz out of this equation and there was no one else you could justify getting a crack at GSP. Food for thought: if Fitch had finished or decisioned Penn in a rematch Saturday, would he have leapfrogged Condit as well? Perhaps he just needed to call St. Pierre scared all along?
White needs to be careful about promising things, supporting those promises and then changing his mind. There are times I wish he would simply say that title shots are given on a 'what do we need' basis. It's been that way for a while, we all know it and have benefited from that attitude. Drop the pretense of rankings or that shots are earned. They are given and can be taken away based on simple business needs.
The fight promotion has been a shady place since the first time someone knew they could make money off it. Perhaps I'm too idealistic to think that word is bond these days, but myself and others took White at his word and you can see where that got us. It's not the first time it's happened and unfortunately, it probably won't be the last.