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St-Pierre does double duty to hype UFC 137

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The Canadian Press
9/6/2011 5:58:45 PM
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TORONTO - Nick Diaz was a no-show Tuesday, leaving welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre to plug their UFC 137 showdown on his own.

Asked about the California challenger's absence in Toronto, a UFC spokesman said "He missed his flight" — explaining the what if not the why.

But Diaz, a former Strikeforce champion, is no fan of such media events.

UFC president Dana White was even pithier in a text to The Canadian Press.

"Unbelievable!" said White, although his spelling of the word contained an 'f' and several other letters in the middle.

White and both fighters are slated to attend a news conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

St-Pierre fulfilled his media obligations all day Tuesday, doing a series of interviews before meeting reporters en masse at a downtown sports bar.

"I don't know why he (Diaz) did not show up. Maybe he has personal issues, I have no idea," St-Pierre said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"I know they bought two flights (tickets) for him and he didn't show up. I have no idea. I can't talk about it because I don't know what's going on in his life. Hopefully he'll be OK and I'll see him in the cage."

The GSP-Diaz fight is not until Oct. 29 in Las Vegas but the media push this week is triggered by the fact that tickets are going on sale. Members of the UFC's Fight Club can buy tickets Wednesday while the general public can purchase seats Friday.

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.

Diaz's coach, Cesar Gracie, popped up some 30 minutes later on the call with an explanation.

"Nick doesn't really do the conference call with the guy he's fighting thing,'' he said. "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.''

St-Pierre interrupted his training to fly in Monday night from New York and was due to leave Tuesday night for Las Vegas.

"I'm a little bit mad, because it's a little bit unfair," said the 30-year-old champion from Montreal. "I missed days of training to come here. Plus jet lag and everything. I think it's not fair — he should do the same thing that I do."

The 28-year-old Diaz gave up his Strikeforce title to challenge St-Pierre for his UFC championship belt.

St-Pierre (22-2) is coming off a win in April in Toronto over Jake Shields, who trains with Diaz. It was his ninth straight win, a run that dates back to April 2007.

Diaz (25-7-1) stopped Paul (Semtex) Dalex in the first round of a Strikeforce slugfest in April. He has won 10 straight since losing to Noons in November 2007 — a loss he avenged in the rematch.

Despite Diaz's absence, St-Pierre was complimentary about his opponent.

"He's dangerous everywhere," he said.

"He's got a very good set of skills," he added. "He's a good boxer, good on the floor as well. He's also a champion. Nick Diaz is a champion so he's got the spirit that comes with it. So he's not going to give up mentally. You see a lot of guys give up mentally and that's why they get knocked out or submitted. They give up mentally before they lose.

"It happens to loads of people. I can give you many examples but Nick Diaz is a champion so he has the spirit. It's going to be very hard to break his spirit. So it's going to be a tough tough fight."

St-Pierre says he has no issue with Diaz, although he pointed to comments from the challenger before the fight was set.

"Diaz said some stuff as well. He said I was avoiding him and stuff. But I don't think he believed that. I believe he says that because he wanted to have a title shot in the UFC, in the big show, for the exposure and the money and everything that comes with it."

Still, the pre-fight talk so far has paled in comparison to Diaz-Noons II.

Noons called Diaz a "pot-smoking chump from Stockton'' — Diaz was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in 2007 after testing positive for marijuana. Diaz labelled Noons' father a "drunk'' who should watch his son's fights from home.

Diaz was suspended for a post-fight cage altercation at a Strikeforce card in Tennessee in April 2010. Jason (Mayhem) Miller sparked the brouhaha when he entered the cage to challenge Shields after his main event win.

Nick and brother Nate, a UFC fighter in his own right, were both part of Shields' camp and took exception. A melee ensued.

Nick 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.

"I think he has a completely different attitude than he used to have in the UFC,'' White said earlier this summer when Diaz returned to the fold.

Georges St-Pierre (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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