As Cageside's Kaleb Kelchner reported earlier, Dana White has announced the superfight match-up of Georges St. Pierre (the UFC's welterweight champ) vs. Nick Diaz (Strikeforce's welterweight champ) was officially signed today, and will be the main event for UFC 137, in Las Vegas (sometime in October).
The fight has been rumored to occur for months now, but contrasting reports have abounded (regarding the possibility of the event being able to be made).
On Sunday, we ran an article citing Dave Meltzer's report of Showtime allegedly nixing the fight. At one point, it was rumored that the two would be opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter (which proved to be untrue shortly thereafter).
So how did it get done? Weeks ago, when Dana White was asked about it, he gave the blunt response: "I can do whatever I want. We'll see." As usual, he was right.
MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani wrote an article about the in's and out's of the deal. Helwani spoke with Nick Diaz's manager to get to the bottom of the things. According to Gracie (via Helwani):
- Diaz signed a new contract which dissolves his former exclusive contract with Strikeforce
- The deal is a multi-fight, multi-year contract with the UFC
- The contract does not prohibit Diaz from fighting in Strikeforce
Gracie went on to say that he is unclear on whether or not Diaz's Strikeforce belt will be on the line (it will almost certainly not be), that he believed Showtime was never a factor in the fight happening or not, and that he hopes this means Diaz has fought his last fight for Strikeforce.
So it looks like it is, in fact, "business as usual". Can anyone really be surprised? We're all watching an elaborate charade that is slowly playing out right in front of our eyes. It would appear that Strikeforce's days (or at least the days of Strikeforce still possessing all of its major stars) are numbered.
Who's next? The truth is that there are probably a larger number of MMA fans who wanted to see Gilbert Melendez fight in the UFC. There may also be a larger number of fans (larger than the number of fans who wanted to see Diaz) who'd like to see Alistair Overeem in the octagon.
The truth is that the UFC doesn't necessarily need Melendez or Overeem, as there are still a lot of interesting fights to be made in the UFC's lightweight and heavyweight divisions. GSP was somewhat out of opponents (sidenote: I am personally very excited about several of the UFC's welterweight prospects and think that they could make title runs sometime next year). It just made sense for Diaz to make the move. You can believe that the second the UFC feels like it needs Melendez and/or Overeem, we will see them fighting for 'Uncle Dana'.