With the rematch against Nate Diaz confirmed, McGregor will have to put his money where his mouth his
Nate Diaz, Conor McGregor, and UFC have finally agreed on a deal for a rematch, as the promotion confirmed that the two would meet again at welterweight on August 20th.
Somewhat marring a fantastic night of action from The Forum in Inglewood at UFC 199, veteran reporter Ariel Helwani was removed from the building along with two of his colleagues after breaking the news of the rematch, hours before the UFC confirmed the contest.
Interestingly, the UFC also announced a remarkable return for UFC 200 (the event which Diaz and McGregor were initially set to meet at) as former heavyweight champion and WWE superstar Brock Lesnar will make his comeback to the Octagon. Although Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier will contest to unify the light-heavyweight titles in the main event of UFC 200, Lesnar’s return will undoubtedly add to the interest in the promotion’s milestone event.
Both Diaz and McGregor have played hardball with Dana White in the lead up to this rematch announcement, and knowing that all three parties have signed up to the deal, it would appear as though some ground was given up in order to get the duo to sign up for the August date.
Conor McGregor's calls for a more relaxed schedule when it comes to media obligations led to his short-lived 'retirement' and subsequent removal from the July 9th bout at the T-Mobile Arena.
‘The Notorious’ stated in an infamous Facebook post back in April that he is “not yet paid to promote”, but given how important the Irishman is for the UFC's promotional efforts, we can only presume that they have somehow worked out a way for their star man to compete and hit the media trail also.
A stroke of genius for both fighters came when Diaz announced that he refused to fight anyone but the Dubliner at the UFC 200 press conference. After McGregor patched things up with UFC, it was believed that getting the Stockton native to sign for the rematch in August was a formality, but it was Diaz who then forced the promotional brass back to the negotiating table.
Image: UFC president Dana White speaks beside an empty chair where Conor McGregor was supposed to sit during a news conference for UFC 200. (AP Photo/John Locher)
He even went as far as claiming that the constant reports about a potential meeting between Floyd Mayweather and McGregor were being put into circulation to make him sign on the dotted line for the deal in a special edition of The MMA Hour.
He said: “Every day I hear about this Mayweather shit, it’s always about (the same time that I am asked) am I going to take the (McGregor) fight? It seems like this is a pretty big deal, can I get compensated for it? I’m like, ‘hey, I call your bluff. Fight that mother**ker (Mayweather) then, I’ll be right here.’”
Dana White revealed that, despite signing a contract to meet McGregor at UFC 200, Diaz asked for a new deal ahead of their second scheduled date at UFC 202. Given that Diaz posted a video of him delivering a patented ‘Stockton Slap’ to the UFC president with a caption that read he was “getting deals done", it appears as though he got the amendments he had been looking for.
A video posted by natediaz209 (@natediaz209) on
"Gods Recognise Gods"
If McGregor believes his own sentiment that, "Gods recognise Gods", then the Irishman surely knows a thing or two about Brock Lesnar’s selling power.
Lesnar currently holds the UFC’s official PPV record from his rematch with Frank Mir at UFC 100. Despite the SBG fighter claiming that he has beaten the UFC 100 record the 1.6 million buys, it is still officially deemed as the most bought event ever.
Image: FRANCIS SPECKER / EMPICS Entertainment
‘The Notorious’ has also underlined his belief that UFC 200 will not reach over 1.5 million PPV buys without him, the same number that Dana White claimed McGregor’s first meeting with Diaz reached. Yet, with the announcement of Lesnar coming back to compete in his first MMA bout since December 2011, it will certainly bolster UFC 200’s chances of beating the current record, given Lesnar’s mass crossover appeal with the professional wrestling fan base.
FloCombat’s Jeremy Botter reported that UFC first reached out to Lesnar in April, convenient timing given it comes shortly after McGregor refused to travel to Las Vegas to take part in the UFC 200 press conference. Having lost such a huge draw in McGregor, it makes sense to think that the promotion contacted the former heavyweight champion and drafted him in to take his place.
UFC 202 will take place in the same stadium as UFC 200, the all-new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, which means Lesnar and McGregor will compete for gate and attendance records, but in two separate events. With the UFC booking the 20,000 seat arena for both dates, they clearly expect that McGregor and Diaz's marketing savvy will reach an all-time high in order to pack it out on August 20th.