The month of September belonged to a man from Stockton, CA, who made his disdain for press conferences well known and paid for it dearly. The UFC also made a big change in their pay-per-view (PPV) schedule to make a splash in their Fox debut and Jon Jones continued his year of dominance.
September 2011: Of Beauty Pageants, Ballsy Moves And Big Wins
After years of complaining about not making money and feeling disrespected by seemingly everyone involved in his MMA life, Nick Diaz finally had his big opportunity with a pay-per-view main event against UFC Welterweight Champion and top pound-for-pound fighter Georges St. Pierre. A single win would put Diaz in the elite class and make him a big time name in front of a huge audience.
But the thing with Diaz is that he doesn't like to do things the way he's told, especially with media obligations. He skipped out on a promotional trip to Toronto and then no-showed a presser in Las Vegas in the same week, enough for Dana White to do the unthinkable: pull him from his battle with St. Pierre and give Carlos Condit the title opportunity instead. It was a ballsy move and one that had plenty of people talking, including Diaz' manager Cesar Gracie.
In another bizarre twist, Diaz was booked in the co-main event position shortly thereafter against B.J. Penn, who was agitated that the UFC asked him to trash talk in some pre-fight interviews. That set off a bizarre exchange with White which was later settled but once again highlighted the fragile relationship the two share. Things would get stranger later on in the fall, but Diaz' failure to make the "beauty pageant" was the big story in September.
Speaking of ballsy moves, White made another one when he bumped up the UFC heavyweight championship clash between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos to the UFC on Fox debut instead of UFC 139. It showed that both the UFC and Fox knew the one-hour November debut was an important stage setter for the relationship and that potentially sacrificing PPV dollars for fresh eyes was a risk they were willing to take. Advertisers responded, buying up all the inventory available.
The question of who could challenge UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones continued to be left unanswered as the youngest champ in UFC history made a fourth round submission win over Quinton Jackson look easy at UFC 135. There was plenty who thought the former champ Jackson would give Jones his stiffest test, but that was far from the case, perhaps signaling the beginning of the end of Rampage's days as a top 205'er. Jones had to fend off two challengers as he booted Steven Seagal from his dressing room earlier in the night.
For the rest of a packed September that included a big year-end fight being booked, join us after the jump.
Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem was announced for December's UFC 141 as the Strikeforce champion came into the UFC fold. Amidst all this, Overeem left Golden Glory...Another Strikeforce champion came back to the UFC as Dan Henderson was signed and booked against fellow PRIDE veteran Mauricio Rua to fill the UFC 139 void...Anderson Silva said he was out until early 2012 with a shoulder injury...Wanderlei Silva got another shot at redemption against the UFC debuting Cung Le.
Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier advanced to the Strikeforce Grand Prix finals with quick wins...Fedor Emelianenko vs. Jeff Monson in Russia was announced for November...Brett Rogers denied a history of violence with his wife and said Dana White should man up and call him. He would make a plea agreement in the case against him...Luke Rockhold won the Strikeforce Middleweight title with a unanimous decision win over Jacare Souza...Cris "Cyborg" Santos' manager claimed she was the highest-paid female athlete in the world.
Josh Koscheck knocked out Matt Hughes in what could be Hughes' final match...Eddie Alvarez got hurt and had to postpone his Bellator title fight with Michael Chandler...Jake Ellenberger made quick work of Jake Shields...The UFC and the Culinary Union continued their battle...Rashad Evans said he'd never work with Greg Jackson again...Ben Askren vs. Jay Hieron was booked...Rich Franklin had shoulder surgery...Kurt Angle and Floyd Mayweather went a bit nutty...The UFC fights on Facebook era was announced as coming to a close.
Past Monthly Recaps: