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Opening Round: The Odyssey and Oddity of Diaz/Condit/St. Pierre

With Hollywood constantly on the lookout for original storylines the folks at Warner Bros need not look any further than the ongoing saga between UFC welterweights Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz, and Georges St. Pierre. Over the past nine months the three have woven a tale filled with intense action, drama, entertaining dialogue, and numerous twists to boot.

Because the story is so epic in nature I’ve taken the liberty of breaking it down to chronicle exactly how nutty the whole shebang is. Throw a bag of popcorn in the microwave, dim the lights, and enjoy!

PROLOGUE:

The setting is May 2011. Diaz has beaten Paul Daley a month prior. Leading up to the fight Diaz’s camp has teased a move to boxing, saying the UFC will only be an option if he is offered GSP. Within weeks Diaz is signed to fight St. Pierre. Both men are on impressive winning streaks and are seen as having few real challengers outside of each other.

ACT I: Planes, Press Conferences, and Automobiles

Fast-forward to September 2011. Diaz misses two press conferences promoting his UFC 137 match-up with St. Pierre. The lack of professionalism prompts Dana White to remove him from the title-fight and give the spot to Condit who gladly accepts the opportunity. A furious Diaz responds in a video made while he drives his SUV, explaining he was never told about the pressers, missed a plane, and was upset to have been pulled out of the bout. Among other insults he labels GSP as a “bitch” for accepting a different opponent.

Diaz is later paired against B.J. Penn, Condit’s original adversary at UFC 137. The first twist takes place, literally, as St. Pierre injures his knee while training for the fight and is forced to pull out. Condit is assured he will receive his shot at the belt regardless of how Diaz fares against Penn and thus decides to also sit out the event instead of facing a foe on short notice. Diaz, now back in the main event, dismantles Penn for fifteen minutes, then goes on a post-win tirade against St. Pierre, accusing him of faking the injury and challenging him to a fight. The move gets under the French-Canadian’s frosty exterior who seeks out White, demands a bout against Diaz, and gets his wishes leaving Condit in the cold.

ACT II: Black Saturday

A bout between Diaz-St. Pierre is set for Super Bowl Weekend but is laid to waste six weeks later when St. Pierre tears his ACL while preparing, a result of overcompensating for his other injured knee. Condit, again training to fight at the same show, is put up against Diaz for an interim title and guaranteed shot at a returning “Rush” to unify the belts.

During the build up to Condit-Diaz the former’s management says he is open to defend the divisional gold if victorious while the latter’s camp explains he would wait for GSP but would possibly be open to competing at 185 pounds.

UFC 143 arrives and things look more like the Puppy Bowl than the “dogfight” Condit promised leading up to the pairing with “The Natural Born Killer” constantly evading Diaz’s aggressive approach while outpointing him with leg-kicks and the occasional flurry. It’s enough to win him the judges’ decision but not the respect of countless fans, fighters, and members of the media. The outcome also causes Diaz to announce his retirement from the sport, a move few saw coming but also a business-savvy one as the next few days would reveal.

ACT III: Toy with Emotions Story

In the immediate fallout from UFC 143 White says he feels Condit deserved the win but understands the public’s frustration and is open to a rematch with St. Pierre on the shelf until November, hoping perhaps a second go will provide a more conclusive outcome. Diaz remains silent while Condit’s people change course, saying the new champ will wait it out while GSP heals up. Within hours White goes online to say a rematch has in fact been made between the two, commenting that Condit had agreed to it.

The news also comes on the heels of St. Pierre being quoted as expressing his willingness to forfeit his own championship in order to face Diaz who he’s grown to dislike intensely.

However, just when things looked to be over, appearances were deceiving. Cesar Gracie, Diaz’s primary representative/trainer, has said a rematch will in fact not take place indicating his star student is either not interested or not healthy.

EPILOGUE:

With the strange road taken thus far it’s impossible to know what will lie around the next bend. I personally have a feeling it may be Diaz vs. St. Pierre. After GSP said he would give up the belt to fight Diaz I think Diaz’s camp realized a Condit rematch does them no favors. They want the St. Pierre fight because of the money/prestige involved so there’s no need to risk another loss similar to the one from last weekend.

What do you think about the subject on today’s “Opening Round”? Tell us on our Twitter account (@mmatraining)!

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