One day after failing to meet the media in Toronto, challenger Nick Diaz was pulled from his UFC 137 main event with Canadian champion Georges St-Pierre.
Instead St-Pierre will meet Carlos (Natural Born Killer) Condit on Oct. 29 in Las Vegas. Condit had been training to meet former champion B.J. Penn.
UFC president Dana White said Diaz's actions — he also skipped Wednesday's news conference in Vegas — had cost him his title shot.
“It blows my mind . . . He was going to make life-changing money for this fight,” said White, who speculated Diaz may have “folded” under the spotlight.
“1,600 fights I have done. This has never happened, never,” the UFC boss added.
Diaz is no fan of media events but White says he told him of the need to meet his pre-fight responsibilities and that Diaz agreed to play his part.
White said the UFC had spent $15,000 in flights alone the last few days in a bid to get Diaz where he was supposed to be.
St-Pierre, who interrupted his training camp to promote the fight, handled media duties solo in Toronto on Tuesday in the absence of the California-based challenger.
“I don't know. Maybe he's been taken away by aliens,” St-Pierre joked Wednesday.
“To me it doesn't make sense. I worked all my life for this opportunity,” he added.
The 28-year-old Diaz gave up his Strikeforce title to challenge St-Pierre for his UFC championship belt.
As for GSP, White called him a “true professional.”
“I consider him one of the best athletes in all the sports,” he said.
White said Condit broke down in tears when he was informed he was getting the title shot.
St-Pierre (22-2) said he considered Condit (27-5) a more dangerous opponent that Diaz (25-7-1).
The UFC 137 media push was triggered by the fact that tickets go on sale this week.
Diaz has dodged the media before, opting not to take part in a Strikeforce conference call prior to his rematch with K.J. Noons last October.
“Nick doesn't really do the conference call with the guy he's fighting thing,” Diaz's coach, Cesar Gracie, said by way of explanation at the time. “He just never has. It's just not in his psyche. He's too busy training to be on the phone and everything like that right now.”
As for this week, White said Diaz “snuck out” of Gracie's house.
“If I knew this was going to happen, I would never have made the fight,” said White, who suggested he may release Diaz.
Diaz fought in the UFC from 2003 to 2006 but wore out his welcome, thanks to incidents like a post-fight brawl with fellow fighter Joe Riggs in hospital.