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Saturday, December 11, 2010

No Diaz vs. Miller, now wants Diaz vs. Daley in Strikeforce

Don't tell Cesar Gracie that Nick Diaz is scared, homie.




Well, unless you're Jason "Mayhem" Miller (24-7 MMA, 1-1 SF), who's dedicated a website to the phrase, which is a Diaz (23-7 MMA, 4-0 SF) quip that he's borrowed to express frustration at a stalemate that's arisen in booking a grudge match between them for a Jan. 29 event in San Jose, Calif.



Diaz vs. Miller is a fight Strikeforce seriously has considered since October when the two nearly came to blows backstage at "Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons 2." (The rivalry was sparked six months prior when Miller and Diaz brawled on national television at 'Strikeforce: Nashville.')



But getting the camps to agree on terms has been a weighty issue.



Miller, a middleweight, wants to meet at 183 pounds and claims Diaz has already fought at that weight and even expressed interest in fighting at light heavyweight.



Gracie points out that Diaz, the Strikeforce welterweight champion, hasn't fought above a 180-pound catchweight fight he took against former UFC champion Frank Shamrock in April 2009.



"'Mayhem' is now saying he'll only cut down to 183," Gracie told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "Well, with a one-pound allowance, that's 184. He weighed in at 184 for the Jake Shields fight (at 'Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers'). So he's saying he won't cut anything."



Gracie said the heaviest Diaz will fight Miller at is 179 pounds, a mark that could expand to 180 pounds with a one-pound allowance granted to non-title fights.



Miller said it doesn't matter whether he gives a number or not – Diaz won't fight him.



Gracie on Sunday issued an announcement that Miller "opted out" of a proposed meeting in January at a catchweight of 178 pounds.



Miller scoffed at the claim and said he couldn't make that weight.



"It's ridiculous," he said. "Especially not in that timeframe. I would have to go do some homosexual triathlons to get to that weight. I'm not Lance Armstrong."



With a line apparently drawn in the sand, Gracie now said he wants Diaz to defend his title against Paul Daley (26-9-2 MMA, 1-0 SF), who this past Saturday delivered a blistering knockout of Scott Smith at "Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu II" and afterward surprised Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker by calling out K.J. Noons.



"I would take that fight right now for January," Gracie said of Diaz vs. Daley.



Coker said he'd like to revisit Diaz vs. Miller with both sides, but the fight promoter admitted there is only so much he can do.



"I'm not sure if we're going to be able to bridge the gap," he said. "We're going to have more conversations, but at the end of the day, if they don't want to make it happen for whatever reason, it's not going to happen. At some point, we're just going to move on."



As to a bout between Diaz and Daley, Coker likes the idea.



"After Paul's performance, it puts him right in the thick of things," he said. "Daley's name was brought up. I think that would be an amazing fight myself because styles make fights, and those two styles would be explosive. But in saying that, I would like to fully explore the 'Mayhem' situation before we commit to what we're going to do."



For Gracie, it's not an issue of whether Diaz has the desire to fight above his normal weight but what incentive he has to do so.



"Of course he would if it's a belt or fighting someone very significant," Gracie said. "Anderson Silva, for example. If somehow the stars aligned and Nick was offered that fight, Nick would take that fight at 185. But for him to fight at a weight class he's never fought at before against 'Mayhem' Miller – no disrespect to Miller, I think he's a great fighter – unfortunately he doesn't hold any ranking in the MMA community. There's no winning out of it.



"When people are getting paid, it's the fight business, not just fighting. In the fight business, if you call someone out, that means you better be able to move to their weight class or at least meet in the middle. He's refusing to meet in the middle."



Miller, meanwhile, believes there's a golden opportunity to capitalize on their grudge. Forget the weight - that's enough incentive.



"Maybe Nick isn't that bright, but Cesar Gracie seems to be very intelligent," he said. "He wants to protect his fighter. Nick is saying he's not scared, homie. So let's do the fight."

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