Diaz gives up Strikeforce title to take on St.Pierre
Nick Diaz will give up his Strikeforce title to challenge UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre in October, says UFC president Dana White.
The two are slated to face off at UFC 137 on Oct. 29 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
White said a fight will be held to decide who gets the vacant Strikeforce belt.
While parent company Zuffa owns the UFC and Strikeforce, the latter’s TV contract with Showtime in the U.S. has complicated the movement of fighters.
“People were screaming for it and clamouring for it,” White said of the GSP-Diaz fight. “We went and talked to Showtime and Showtime was cool with it.”
White said he is able to access Strikeforce talent but wants to respect the deal with Showtime. Plus he does not want to cannibalize Strikeforce.
“We’re trying to figure this thing out. We have a deal with Showtime and we’re going to honour that deal with Showtime. And Showtime has worked with us really good … We’ll see what happens. Hopefully we can make this thing work.”
St-Pierre (22-2) is coming off a decision win over Jake Shields at UFC 129 in Toronto. The 30-year-old from Montreal has defended his 170-pound title six times since winning it back from Matt Serra at UFC 83 in April 2008.
Like St-Pierre, Diaz (14-6) has not lost since 2007. The 27-year-old stopped Paul (Semtex) Daley in the first round last time out in Strikeforce.
Diaz fought in the UFC from 2003 to 2006 but wore out his welcome, thanks to incidents like a post-fight brawl with Joe Riggs in hospital.
“I think he has a completely different attitude than he used to have in the UFC,” said White.
Diaz’s younger brother Nate also fights in the UFC.
The UFC president said Nick Diaz now has a UFC contract, but could go back to Strikeforce on the same terms if he lost to GSP.
He said he hopes to find ways to bridge the two promotions.
“We want to make this work for them and us,” said White. “The big question with Strikeforce is can we make this thing work on Showtime so that we don’t get murdered and lose a bunch of money.”