The forgotten man in this whole Conor McGregor vs. UFC debacle is Nate Diaz (pictured), who McGregor was slated to rematch at UFC 200 until he refused to board the UFC’s private jet from Iceland to Las Vegas to attend Friday’s UFC 200 press conference.
Diaz was sitting in one of the two top spots at the podium, while the other headliner chair where McGregor was to be seated was empty. Although McGregor had issued various tweets suggesting he was still in Iceland conducting his training camp, many held out hope that he would magically appear on stage and UFC 200’s main event was still on track.
Instead, McGregor stuck to his stubborn guns and streamed the presser from halfway across the globe and live tweeted, “Everyone flew in. Respect. But not everyone up there made the company 400 million in 8 months.”
Nobody, including Diaz, cared that McGregor was a no-show. Diaz, like everyone else inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena, simply wanted McGregor to be there come showtime.
“I came to fight Conor McGregor,” Diaz deadpanned. “I don’t really have too much interest in anybody else or interest in fighting at all,” Diaz said. “That’s what he wanted and I’m down for whatever. Like I said, I’m going to come here to fight, if we’re going to get that fight going. If not, I’m going on vacation for real.
“I didn’t ask for that fight but he asked for it, he wanted it … If it’s going to happen, let’s do it. If not, then I’m not doing [expletive]. If he wants to fight and he’s not here, I don’t know what you guys think but I don’t care. Whatever.”
Only one person seemed to care that McGregor was absent, and unfortunately for all involved, UFC president Dana White has the final say.
White slammed the door on McGregor facing Diaz in the historic July 9 extravaganza, repeatedly asking “would it be fair to the other fighters who are here?” I’m not quite sure when being FAIR to his fighters became so important to White (Please see: Reebok), but OK…
It can be argued that McGregor’s retirement and un-retirement posts this week did more to promote UFC 200 than anything he could have filmed, said or done in Las Vegas. So why not just make the exception for the UFC’s biggest cash cow?
Let’s be real, not all fighters are treated equally. That’s why it’s called SUPERSTAR TREATMENT.
White even admitted that the other card’s participants still wanted McGregor to headline UFC 200 because of his unmatched star power. More eyes on the event, more eyes on everyone.
White said they are currently working on a different opponent for Diaz, but Diaz was adamant that it was McGregor or bust at UFC 200. And who can blame him? After 12 years of risking life and limb inside the cage, March’s upset submission win over McGregor made Diaz more money and gained him more exposure than all of his previous 28 professional fights combined.
Diaz rode the McGregor money train at UFC 196, and he wants to drive another lap.
But for Diaz, it really isn’t about fighting McGregor again as much as it is about being paid like he’s fighting McGregor again. Diaz is taking the McGregor or bust stance because he wants White to know that, even if they offer him UFC welterweight champ Robbie Lawler at UFC 200, he still wants to be compensated as though it’s McGregor standing on the opposite end of the octagon.
As McGregor tweeted to the UFC Thursday, “Your Move.”