Friday 23 February 2018

Diaz admits telling UFC boss conflicting information over weight before being offered McGregor bout

Conor McGreogr will fight Nate Diaz on March 5
Conor McGreogr will fight Nate Diaz on March 5

Tom Rooney

Having already refuted Conor McGregor and the UFC’s account as to why the UFC 196 headliner was made at welterweight, Nate Diaz seems to have now contradicted his own version of events.

When McGregor and Diaz crossed paths for the first time at press conference in California last week, the pair traded insults as they are sure to do blows at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night, but one exchange stood out most.

The American accused an incredulous McGregor and, indeed, the entire UFC roster, of steroid use before the pair argued how and why their showdown would be contested at 170lbs.

Of course, the Dubliner had been slated to face lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos, as he sought to become the first man ever to concurrently hold two titles but the Brazilian was forced to withdraw with a broken foot.

A number of fighters were offered the bout, while others turned it down, before it was decided that Diaz would be the SBG man’s eighth UFC opponent.

At the aforementioned event, McGregor, echoed by the UFC, claimed that Diaz’s representatives had proposed the fight at catch-weights of 160 and 165lbs before the former said he would compete at welterweight if it would expedite an agreement.

Diaz was not the only member of his team to discount that narrative; his boxing coach, Richie Perez, has claimed that not only is McGregor on steroids, but it was he who insisted the fight take place at the bigger bracket.

“So think about it: if you see that, you would think he had two more weeks to go, he would be close to 155 and stay on that, you know, or go to 160, Perez told Submission Radio”. “But he didn’t, he jumped to 170. So that’s kinda shady right there.”

“Right, that’s what I’m saying; that McGregor couldn’t make the weight. Because he would have said: ‘Okay, let’s go to 160 or let’s go to 155′, because Nathan was ready for it. And he didn’t (accept). So then he jumped to 170. Why?”

UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor (L) and lightweight contender Nate Diaz (R)

However, Diaz gave a interview to in which he recounted the days leading up to being offered the fight with the UFC featherweight champion and a number of his statements warrant a closer look in light of the past week.

He claimed that he been speaking to the UFC president Dana White and told  him his desire to return to welterweight because he didn’t feel there were viable opponents for him at 155lbs. Diaz has fought four times at welterweight, with a record of two wins and two losses.

“I had just told Dana White, 'I'm going to 170.’”  "Because you know, Pettis, Alvarez and all those guys, all those scary-ass guys don't want to fight me.

“So, what the hell am I going to do, sit around the division and wait for a fight? So, it's all good, I'm going to go up to 170, then, start eating. I texted that to Dana. We were talking the day before they called me (to offer the McGregor fight)”

Strangely, Diaz claimed that he told White that he wanted a shot at the currently retired former welterweight champion Georges St Pierre. But, within 24 hours, the Crumlin native was suggested to him.

Diaz added: “And then he called me the next day (saying) 'I told you to stay in shape, I told you to stay in shape and keep your weight down because something might come up.' I was like, 'What's up?'

"He told me that McGregor wanted to fight so I said, 'Yeah, let's do it.' He said, 'You just told me you were 200 pounds,’” Diaz laughed. “And, I said, 'I lied.’”

So, was he in shape to fight at 155 lbs. as has been strongly stated or, as he suggested to White,  preparing his physique to compete with the much bigger foes?

To be fair to the Californian, he has only missed weight once, prior to his lob-sided loss to Dos Anjos late in 2014.

But, he’s already admitted to being economical with the truth when speaking to his employer (White). What’s more, he went on to say that he immediately accepted the fight and was happy to do so at lightweight.

"'So, let's get this 155 thing going and get it cracking.' He was like, 'Alright, don't say (expletive), we're going to make it happen.' I was like, ‘alright.’”

The whole I-said-he-said dynamic is certainly making for an unlikely subplot, even in the world of McGregor.

But Diaz, who called out the ‘Notorious’ with an expletive laden rant after his most recent win against Michael Johnson, is adamant nobody is doing him a favour by granting that particular wish.

"I didn't call like all them other fighters and beg for a fight. McGregor was asking for me, they were asking for me. There's no other way," he claimed. There's no McGregor show. It's the fight that needed to happen.”

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