Diaz misses workout ahead of UFC card against GSP
MONTREAL — Georges St-Pierre played with children and threw signed merchandise into the crowd. His opponent, Nick Diaz, didn’t bother to show up.
Short of escorting a senior citizen across the street or donating an organ to a relative in need, St-Pierre couldn’t have done much more for his good guy image at a public workout Wednesday in advance of UFC 158.
And Diaz, whose matchup with GSP at UFC 137 in 2011 was shelved after failing to show up for news conferences in Toronto and Las Vegas, added to his bad boy reputation.
The California fighter was slated to show between noon and 1 p.m. at the downtown mall that was host to the workout. St-Pierre was due between 1 and 2 p.m.
Diaz never made it. The only glimpse fans got of him was a side shot on a giant promotional poster overhead and a close-up of his sneer on a floor-mounted display.
“We’re still trying to find him,” said Tom Wright, the UFC’s director of Canadian operations.
“Maybe he’s on Stockton time,” he added, referring to Diaz’s home in the Stockton-Lodi area of California.
More likely Diaz time.
Diaz and brother Nate were seen getting on the elevator at the UFC hotel at 2:20 p.m. The St-Pierre entourage arrived at the hotel some 15 minutes later after fulfilling their media obligations at the workout.
“Would of been happy to show for the fans but UFC got me here at 12 last night. George lives here!” Diaz teeted later Wednesday.
Diaz’s no-show is hardly likely to trigger anything more than a tongue-lashing from UFC president Dana White given the proximity to Saturday’s show at the Bell Centre. Plus Diaz is on the hook to be at Thursday’s news conference and Friday’s weigh-in.
“He better be at the press conf(erence),” White said in a text to The Canadian Press.
In pulling Diaz from the first GSP fight, White said: “I’d rather pull the fight now than have him not show up the night of the event.”
But St-Pierre insisted there’s no chance of that this time.
“He’s going to show up for sure,” said St-Pierre.
The 31-year-old champion, who calls Montreal home, shrugged off Wednesday’s mini-drama.
“It doesn’t change nothing in my life,” he said.
“I don’t worry about him. I worry only about myself on that point,” he added when pressed on the issue. “I don’t care.”
Diaz has a history of playing hooky. The UFC says he missed two days filming for a preview show for this card. The Diaz camp says they did not get proper notice.
His camp also complained last month that it had to fly economy to Montreal, using Twitter to campaign for the UFC to upgrade them to business class.
“By train, by horse. I don’t care. I want him to come to Montreal. We need to finish the business,” St-Pierre said at the time.
In truth, St-Pierre has as little time for the pre-fight public workouts as Diaz does. While other fighters dutifully put on gloves and spar or do light grappling for the watching fans and cameras, St-Pierre doesn’t bother.
He argues that he has completed his training camp so why do a fake workout?
Instead he tries to come up with something else to entertain fans. On Wednesday, he pretended to spar with some pint-sized students from a local martial arts academy, Karate Sunfuki. Then he threw signed merchandise into the crowd.
The contrast between the two fighters is exactly why they are facing off in a cage Saturday.