Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
The UFC hosted a press conference announcing ticket sales for UFC 158 last week in Montreal. It was set to feature UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, UFC president Dana White, and the UFC's resident bad boy, Nick Diaz. There were so many questions before the presser - would Diaz show? How much would he taunt GSP if he did? Would he show any remorse for his suspension? Surprisingly enough, Diaz did show - and was on his best behavior.
White was asked about Diaz after UFC on Fox 6, and was suitably impressed with Nick's professionalism:
"Not only did Nick come, he was on time for everything. I'm pretty sure he didn't miss any flights. He couldn't have been cooler. He came there and did what he had to do. He even stuck around and did pictures with the fans after. It was cool."
Has Diaz turned over a new leaf? Seriously? Nick Diaz? White didn't address that, but he did point out that doing media for fights is something that most fighters hate, not just Nick:
"I know he hates to do it, but everybody does. You guys have no idea. These guys are in their camp, they're in their own little world, and then they've gotta leave and do all the press and media and it's hard. That sounds stupid, but it's harder than people think. You're answering the same questions over and over. But it's what we do. It's part of the game, and everybody wants to talk about making Floyd Mayweather money, but Floyd works his ass off to promote a fight."
White also doesn't think the year off was "a lesson" for Nick, but he believed lot of what Diaz said there:
"I don't want to say that he learned a lesson, like, 'Yeah, we taught him a lesson. "I think a lot of what he said at the press conference is true. I think he had this feeling like he's been fighting since he was 18 years old, he never caught a break, always felt like he was on the wrong side of the deal since he was 18 years old. He's had a year off, feels like he rested up, healed up some injuries and had some time to relax.
Without him saying it, I'm sure he's probably pretty excited to be back into it. You take a year off, pretty f**king boring."
It's true that Diaz did catch quite a break getting this bout, considering he's coming off a loss and a suspension. Perhaps he really is grateful for the opportunity. We'll have to wait and see if a bit of the old Diaz resurfaces before March 16th though.