The un-pleasantries began after McGregor showed up over a half hour late. (The rancor between the two really began before the two first squared off at UFC 196 in March, a bout won by Diaz, but let’s stick to Wednesday’s events.) Diaz and his crew left the stage shortly thereafter, with the California-based fighter hurling profanities and threats while giving McGregor the finger.
“Shut your [expletive] mouth, you’ll do nothing,” McGregor responded. “Not one of youse will do nothing! Get the [expletive] out of here!”
At that point, Diaz threw a water bottle at McGregor, leading the Irishman to grab whatever he could off a table — including prominently placed energy-drink cans — and hurl them back. “That’s a wrap; get them out of here,” White said.
White may have apologized, but he has plenty of reason to be happy about the attention the incident is bringing to Saturday’s event. The UFC has hit something of a lull, caused by issues such as Ronda Rousey’s continued absence, PED scandals involving huge names such as Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar, the decision to take McGregor-Diaz off the UFC 200 card, and the sale of the company itself. It also doesn’t help that sports fans have plenty of distractions these days, including the Olympics and the NFL’s return.
Veteran MMA journalist Ariel Helwani noted that the crowd at Wednesday’s news conference was noticeably smaller and less enthusiastic than that for UFC 200, or even at previous McGregor fights. Helwani opined, however, that there was “absolutely nothing fake” about the animosity on display. “That’s why it was compelling,” he wrote on Twitter.
Some actual news managed to emerge from the news conference, too, when White said that, no matter what happened at UFC 202, McGregor would then go back to fighting at 145 pounds and take on interim featherweight champion Jose Aldo. McGregor is fighting Diaz at a maximum weight of 170 pounds, as he did in their first encounter.