“What happened is you can’t pull a guy off a card and then bring him back on: ‘Oh, he’s not good enough to fight. We pulled him out of the card. He can’t be in the main event. Yeah, here you go. Oh, wait a minute, guess what happened? Our little star guy over here, his knee hurts. Oh my God, we need Nick Diaz. Let’s put him back in the main event.’ Everybody wants to see that fight. He delivers. Well, little star guy didn’t fight and Nick Diaz did, but they pulled a lot of money from Nick’s purse because it wasn’t structured for him to make as much if it wasn’t GSP, even though he was the main event now and put the people in the seats… Nick Diaz saved that card. OK?. That’s what people need to remember when they talk about responsibility, is that he showed up, hamstring injury, knee injury, whatever. He had the same thing. He’s the guy that showed up. He’s the guy that fought his heart out, him and B.J. Penn. They put on a show. They’re two great warriors. They saved the UFC that night… [Nick’s pay cut] is a hard pill to swallow. I think it’s patently unfair. Myself, in my opinion, that’s unfair. I think Nick obviously knows it’s unfair, and these are talks we’re going to have with Dana White and with the UFC… We’ve had good negotiations with Dana before. We’re going to put everything on the table, and I’m confident that we’re going to be able to iron all of this out and that Dana will make it right.”
— Cesar Gracie telling Sherdog that Nick Diaz saved UFC 137
It’s not hard to read between the lines here. Nick Diaz reportedly lost out on a potential seven-figure payday when he lost the Georges St. Pierre fight and now that he has his title shot back, they want their big payday back too. I can’t say how it will turn out, but the Diaz camp does have a little bit of leverage here. It’s a fight the fans badly want and Dana White already announced it, presumably without a bout agreement signed. If Dana can’t get the fight done, he stands to lose a considerable amount of goodwill with fans — the same fans he takes pride in giving the fights they want to see.
In other words, Dana White has to get this fight signed, even if it means giving Nick Diaz his pay-per-view bonus back.