If contracts mean anything it appears we're closer to Nick Diaz stepping away from MMA to try his hand at boxing. Press releases were sent out today saying the Strikeforce 170-pound champion has signed a deal to fight former 168-pound boxing champion Jeff "Left Hook" Lacy in October.
Lacy's publicist Bernie Bahrmasel said his fighter has signed the deal. ESPN.com's Josh Gross spoke with Diaz's mentor Cesar Gracie, who said the MMA fighter also put pen to paper.
Diaz didn't actually sign a contract to fight Lacy. He's signed a bout agreement with Don Chargin, the promoter, with the understanding that it's going to be Lacy.
It's a surprising matchup on both sides. Lacy, a pro boxer with 30 fights under his belt, has a lot to lose. Diaz, who hasn't lost an MMA bout since 2007, has only fought professionally on the boxing side one time.
"It's a challenge when somebody calls him out," Bahrmasel told Yahoo! Sports. "It's a personal thing when somebody says 'you're this, you're that. I can come and kick your butt.'� And Jeff's like, 'I'm Jeff Lacy pal. I've been a successful boxer for a very long time. You want to step in with me under boxing rules and prove yourself, it's absolutely personal.'
Two weeks ago, Lacy (25-4-1) spoke about Diaz calling him out.
"Honestly, I was a little stunned. Nick has accomplished a great deal in mixed martial arts and is certainly one of the best in the sport. But getting in the ring with me for a boxing match is a path he needs to be very wary of taking. I'm willing to put it all on the line anytime, anywhere!" said Lacy.
"For the right price, I'm more than interested in heading to his turf and put my fist in his mouth and silencing him."
"For Jeff to use that kind of language, it's not typically the way he talks," Bahrmasel said. "He's always been very respectful. But you throw a sword in his direction then you're going to get Jeff Lacy."
The Lacy Camp has no worries about losing to Diaz (1-0).
"He's never lost to a guy who's 1-0 in boxing. How's that for a line? I'll leave it at that," said Bahrmasel.
Is Diaz taking a negotiating position to ensure an MMA fight against Georges St. Pierre before the end of 2011 or will he really go through with this? That's what it sounded like when Gracie spoke with MMAFighting. Seems like a risky proposition for Diaz. If he gets destroyed by Lacy, we're not so sure he can just walk back to MMA and expect anyone to promote a mega-fight against GSP in the near future.