Friday, May 20, was not a good day in Stockton, Calif. At least, it wasn’t according to UFC president Dana White.
White and company CEO Lorenzo Fertitta flew to the 209 to meet with Nate Diaz and his manager to try and iron out a deal. They wanted to put Diaz in the cage with Conor McGregor on Aug. 20 at UFC 202, after their UFC 200 headlining fight fell apart over a disagreement between McGregor and UFC brass.
The meeting wasn’t as fruitful as White had hoped it would be. Despite TMZ reporting that White stormed out of the meeting, Diaz said that characterization was exaggerated. He said during a special Wednesday edition of The MMA Hour that, while the meeting didn’t go as everyone had hoped, he remains on good terms with the UFC and believes that the fight will get worked out.
“It wasn’t the best meeting, but it wasn’t the worst meeting either,” Diaz said.
“It was just business talk. We didn’t both leave on the happiest note, but stuff is getting done. Things are moving forward.”
The business talk that kept the deal from getting done was Diaz’s insistence that it was time for him to get paid. While many said he finally got paid when he and McGregor scored huge numbers with UFC 196 in March, he insisted that was just a reimbursement for past performances.
“That’s reimbursement, that’s what (the UFC 196 payday) is. I haven’t been paid yet,” said Diaz, who went on to explain that some of the friction stemmed from him asking for a pay increase. He advised other fighters to do the same.
“I’m not begging for this fight. But everybody else seems to think it’s absurd when I’m asking for a raise. (Every fighter needs to) start acting like a businessman and treat yourself like a business and get yourself paid.”
Although the meeting ended without a deal, Diaz said that White understood where his fighter was coming from with his request.
“I told Dana, ‘I don’t want to piss no one off, but I just want to get mine when I can.’”
As soon as the meeting was over, the rumors of a Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor boxing match again reached a fever pitch. Fox Sports talkshow host Colin Cowherd even claimed to have sources indicating that the boxing match was set for September in Las Vegas.
Diaz, however, believes that the Mayweather vs. McGregor rumors are just that, rumors, and that both fighters continuing to talk about it is nothing more the attempt to keep their names in the media and to put pressure on Diaz to get a deal done to fight McGregor at UFC 202.
All that noise aside, he said that he and White have been texting, and that his manager, Lloyd Pierson, has been negotiating with UFC officials.
“Everybody’s been talking and I think we’re going to figure things out,” said Diaz.
So, while May 20 might have been a bad day, don’t be surprised if there are good days ahead… that don’t include the name Floyd Mayweather.