Dana White revealed yesterday that Nate Diaz’s negotiation tactics may cost him an opportunity to rematch Conor McGregor at UFC 202 in August.
Speaking on ‘The Herd’ show with Colin Cowherd on FOX Sports 1 yesterday, White admitted that he did walk out during a meeting with Diaz recently, but said that was more down to the fighter’s management than anything else.
It doesn’t seem that thw two parties have found common ground since then as White continues to be reluctant on the idea of ramping up Diaz’s payday again, so soon after already having done so.
“Nate, we signed a new deal going into that fight, then he signed the contract for UFC 200. So then Conor doesn’t show up for UFC 200, and now Nate is trying to blow up the deal. It’s just frustrating. But listen, that’s the business we’re in. This is what we do. Everybody is not going to be happy all the time. It’s part of the deal, so now our job is, Lorenzo (Fertitta) and I have to sit down and try to figure out how to make this deal work.”
In many respects this situation is very much like the one the UFC just had with McGregor when he tried to play hardball regarding his promotional commitments prior to UFC 200. Knowing that letting McGregor have his own way would set an example that others might try to follow, they took a hardline stance of their own and opted to pull him from the card entirely.
They must have a feeling of deja vu in their dealing with Diaz, who’s also engaging in a power struggle with the promotion that could set a precedent that other fighters would take note of if he’s successful.
With that in mind it seems that the UFC’s new tactic is threatening to just overlook Diaz entirely and bring in a different opponent instead, although this time they are leaving the door slightly ajar for further negotiation – on a time-limited basis.
“We’ve been going back and forth and trying to make this fight happen, but the problem is timing,” White claimed. “Now we’re running out of time, because I’ve already got — this fight is supposed to be August 20th, or something like that. I’ve already got September 20th done. I’ve already got that card made, it’s done, and now we’re moving onto the next one. So we’re going to get to a point here where we’re going to run out of time and we’re just not going to be able to make the fight. So Conor is going to have to pick a new opponent that he would like to fight, or lose that date.”
It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out. McGregor remains obsessed with rematching Diaz, and the UFC knows that this would now be an enormous fight given all the publicity it’s been getting, but if they were willing to turn their back on the fight happening at UFC 200, then there’s little doubt they could end up doing the same for UFC 202 as well.