Fernando Vargas is out, now Cesar Gracie says Nick Diaz and company are working on a boxing match with Jeff Lacy. But there may be a new wildcard in this effort to get the Strikeforce 170-pound champion a boxing match. The talk of a crossover fight has piqued the interest of boxing promoter Lou DiBella.
DiBella told Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole that response from MMA fans via email and Twitter about the possibility of a Sergio Martinez-Diaz fight has been overwhelming. DiBella has embarked on a fact-finding mission to see if he can really match his star middleweight champ against Diaz.
Why would a top three pound-for-pound boxer waste his time fighting someone like Diaz, with little professional boxing experience? Sadly, DiBella can’t find Martinez (47-2, 26 KOs) a top-notch opponent or a network to take the fight. Martinez is coming off one-sided victories where he dismantled and finished Paul Williams and Serhiy Zdinziruk. While they are plenty of intriguing fights out there at 154 and 160 for Martinez, nothing has materialized. HBO turned down a Martinez-Sebastian Zbik fight in lieu of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. versus Zbik on June 4.
Diaz has long talked about wanting to box. He again complained about his MMA career during a postfight interview with HDNet following his victory over Paul Daley.
"They don’t have anyone else for me to fight now. I’m better than all the guys they have," Diaz said. "The guys they have ranked above me, I’m sure they don’t want to fight me. I don’t see much of a future in this sport for me. I seriously don’t."
Gracie told the network that Diaz wants to box, signed a deal to fight former world champion Fernando Vargas and was awaiting a response from Vargas’ camp (0:35 mark). Now it looks like Vargas’ comeback is in jeopardy because of undisclosed medical issues.
DiBella said he planned on reaching out to UFC president Dana White and Gracie to inquire about Diaz’s ability to sign a boxing deal.
The television ideas for a possible Martinez-Diaz fight range anywhere from finding a spot on a cable television network to putting it on pay-per-view. Making the fight an eight-round exhibition is also a possibility.
As far as Diaz’s MMA contract, Gracie said his fighter did not sign a special provisional deal with Zuffa. Gracie hasn’t spoken to Strikeforce’s Scott Coker about the topic.
"I don’t even know how much in charge of things he is any more," Gracie said. "Ultimately, it’s going to have to go through the UFC, so the only people to talk about it with would be them. What am I going to talk to Scott about? He doesn’t own anything any more."
According to Gracie, Diaz’s MMA contract has been "re-worked" and he’s now free to box. Stay tuned on this one.