Thursday, May 26, 2011

With Chael Sonnen unavailable, will the UFC bring GSP vs. Nick Diaz to The Ultimate Fighter?

By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

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With Chael Sonnen's indefinite suspension in California effectively taking him out of a planned coaching spot on The Ultimate Fighter against Michael Bisping, the UFC now needs to look for a new set of coaches for the show, which will begin filming in June. Though there haven't been any rumblings about who they will go after now, some things have been put into motion that could open up the possibility of a very big pairing to take that slot.

In a Wednesday radio interview, UFC director of Canadian operations Tom Wright said the organization was targeting a December 10 date at the Bell Centre in Montreal for what would be UFC 140. The question was presented to Wright if a much talked about welterweight fight between Georges St. Pierre and Nick Diaz could headline that event, and while he didn't explicitly rule it out, he said it was too early to determine that event's headlining fight.

St. Pierre and Diaz would bring two very respected groups of trainers and coaches to help with the bantamweights and featherweights expected to come on the show, and it would lead to what will likely be the first UFC vs. Strikeforce, Champion vs. Champion fight.

But what leads to the belief that the UFC is even targeting them for the show? Pure speculation at this point; however, MMAFighting.com's Mike Chiappetta popped up on Twitter this evening with a very interesting note:

Wrote Chiappetta, "A little birdy tells me Nick Diaz just walked into a meeting with Dana White at the UFC offices."

Now, this meeting could be simply about keeping Diaz in MMA competition and getting the fight with St. Pierre together, which could possibly come even earlier if they do not go through the Ultimate Fighter series. Still, considering the timing of the day's meeting coming a day after Chael Sonnen was removed as an option for the show is curious. With the UFC looking at another event in St. Pierre's hometown for the event that will come after the conclusion of the next season of the show, putting him back into the coaching gig could make a lot of sense.

From the UFC's standpoint, even though Diaz has been a big hit for Strikeforce on Showtime, their numbers still weren't up to UFC events. A full season of The Ultimate Fighter to re-introduce Diaz to the million-plus viewers that tune in every week would help to make this a hugely anticipated fight not just with the hardcore fanbase, but with the vast casual audience of the UFC as well.

This would be a great coaching pair for TUF, even if it means delaying this fight until December. As a vehicle for promoting Diaz beyond what he's gotten in Strikeforce and to make this an even bigger fight it would be a great idea. Of course, if today's meeting gets him to fight St. Pierre anywhere at anytime then it's a success, but the two would make a very interesting pair for the UFC and Spike TV for the reality show if that's the route they want to go.

Source: http://www.mmatorch.com/artman2/publish/UFC_2/article_9365.shtml

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