Why An Immediate Rematch with Nick Diaz is the BEST Career Move for Carlos Condit
In the wake of UFC 143′s “Judging-Gate” (it’s always a “Something-Gate” with you people…thanks a lot, Nixon!) I wrote an article where I spelled out what would remedy the Diaz/Condit situation: immediate rematch.
Well, if anyone needed further proof that Dana White reads my articles and takes every sage word to heart, you got it yesterday. Within just a few hours of my article going up, White and the UFC announced Diaz vs. Condit II…only not…only they did…except it might not happen…I think? Basically either one or both managers are holding out for more moolah, or Nick Diaz has been training at “altitude” again.
Funnily enough, more than a few Condit fans are downright PO’ed at the rematch even happening, for what as far as I can see are 2 reasons:
1) Carlos Condit already beat Diaz! He shouldn’t have to fight him again! This is a lose-lose fight for Condit and a complete slap in the face of his masterful performance to win the title.
2) This is an evil conspiracy from Dana White to get the Diaz/GSP super-fight everybody wants! Condit winning (and winning “boring”) killed all the hype for GSP’s return – and now Dana’s trying to change history! RAAAAGE!!!
So even though I wrote about this only a day ago, I’m going to take a moment to revisit the Diaz/Condit conundrum. See, I happen to think that an immediate rematch is the BEST thing that could happen for Carlos, short of GSP healing his knee with blood magic or something and facing Condit in the next 2-3 months.
Let’s lay out the options currently facing Carlos right now, and see what his best move is:
HE WAITS: Carlos Condit pulls a Rashad Evans and, with a guaranteed title fight in his back pocket, sits on his butt until the champ is ready to face him. This is the course of action Condit’s manager was pushing for (or was he?), and it’s the course of action many fans feel Condit “earned” after besting Diaz.
Except that you’re asking a 27 year old athlete with no injuries to sit out almost a year of his prime, all to chase a title fight. And that title fight might not be waiting for him when he gets back – it took Rashad Evans two fights past when he was “guaranteed” a title fight to actually get one. As the great Benjamin Linus from “Lost” once said, “Fate is a fickle b*tch”.
Even Condit knows what it’s like to be passed up by circumstance, as he saw his bestowed title shot disappear in the wake of UFC 137 and the Diaz hype train back in October. Nothing is certain in this sport until the guy is standing across the cage from you.
Also, if you’re worried about Condit’s win “killing” the hype around GSP’s return, just imagine what Carlos waiting for 10 months will do. I can just see the advertisements now:
“This November, the most dominant Welterweight in MMA history returns…against that guy you don’t really know that well and who you last saw fight in February, in a fight most people sh*t on. Also both guys are super-polite and averse to taking risks in UFC title fights. GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!”
Finally, consider the financial situation. Ten months is an awfully long time to go without a cheque when you’re a fighter in his prime who’s never made “big money”. A fight with Diaz guarantees a big payday, against an opponent you already know you can beat. Tell me what fighter wouldn’t jump at that?
HE FIGHTS SOMEONE ELSE: as I said in my previous article, this is a good “plan B” but it’s not the ideal situation in my opinion.
First off, there’s no clear cut #1 contender in the division currently, which means more waiting in limbo for Carlos. But there’s Ellenberger vs. Sanchez coming up shortly, plus Johny Hendricks is making a good case with his spectacular KO of Jon Fitch. I suppose any of those guys could get thrown in a title fight, but so far no one has made the sort of “undeniable” case that, say, GSP made for his second title shot back in the day.
First off, a Condit vs. (Insert challenger) fight would be a hard sell: none of the guys I listed are stars on the level of GSP or even Nick Diaz. I don’t see casual fans choking on their morning coffees upon hearing that the long awaited Carlos Condit vs. Johny Hendricks title fight has been made. And there’s another problem – it’s the interim title, which makes the sell even harder.
Remember that pretend ad above? Here’s how I see the ad for this (hypothetical) fight going:
“This summer, the pretend champion of the Welterweight division, fresh off squeaking by Nick Diaz in a fight you all hated, takes on his greatest challenge…the dude with the wicked beard who knocked out Jon Fitch that one time. It’s a battle to see who’s truly the best…at pretending to be champ while GSP is rehabbing his knee. LIVE ON PPV!”
I don’t see that fight selling very well, do you? Usually, I’d say “who cares?” to that – soldier on, sell the fight, and convince fans like the UFC usually does – except that there’s WAY more career benefit, and way more money to be made, if we go with option C:
IMMEDIATE REMATCH: what has become the two dirtiest words in MMA to some folks is, to my mind, the best solution for all parties involved – particularly Carlos Condit.
This way, the UFC can have an interim title fight without have to stake it with their credibility, or explain the situation to confused fans. It’s the same story from this fight, featuring the same characters – but now the stakes are higher, meaning there’s more money to be made. UFC 143 was very much “the Nick Diaz Show” in terms of who was selling the PPV’s, leading to all the calls that Carlos had played “spoiler” to Nick Diaz’s big moment.
But now, Carlos will be coming in with a ton of exposure and lots of baggage – and that’s a good thing. Lots of people think Diaz was screwed, and will tune in to see Carlos get his just desserts. Lots more people think Condit won fair and square, and will tune in to see if Carlos shuts Nick’s mouth once and for all.
Sure their last fight was “boring” to some, but you’d be amazed how little that matters in selling PPV’s. GSP has been “boring” for years now, yet his PPV numbers are through the roof. Floyd Mayweather is constantly derided for his “boring style”, and he’s one of the biggest draws in all of boxing.
Storylines mean everything. GSP jabs off respectful, vanilla Jake Shield’s face and it’s a stinker. GSP jabs off hated D-bag Josh Koscheck’s face and it’s “Fight of the Night”. Perspective is everything. It’s part of the reason no one complains about Chael Sonnen being “boring” anymore even though he hasn’t changed his style much if at all. The drama outside the cage, the promotion, the storylines, often overshadow the in-cage action.
This is a chance to sell the same fight again, for more money. This is a chance to get closure on a fight that, no matter how many keyboard warriors come down on one side or the other, was extremely close. This is a chance for Condit to cement his win, build a profile with casual fans, and actually gather a little momentum for the eventual GSP showdown.
In a rematch with Diaz, Carlos makes more money, gets a higher profile, and fights a guy he already beat.
Can someone explain to me where he loses here?