When it comes to UFC 200, history will look at Conor McGregor as a man who tried to bluff his way to the biggest pot of all-time, only to realize that UFC was holding a straight flush before the game even began. False tweets about retirement and reconciliation will only get a superstar so far.
Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor II would have broken all sorts of records at the gate and on pay-per-view. The fight transcends the sport, which is something UFC hasn’t been able to produce in a few years.
McGregor reportedly demanded a $10 million dollar guarantee, after he signed the contract to fight. He also refused to do any promotional media except for a press conference in New York.
UFC pulled McGregor from the show and a few days later and McGregor sent out a tweet stating that he was back on the card. UFC, however, was unaware of this and are sticking to their guns when it comes to McGregor’s removal.
Diaz could have fought someone else with all signs pointing to a welterweight title shot against Robbie Lawler. That would have been a great fight, but UFC made the mistake of announcing that Diaz would fight someone else without checking with him first.
The Stockton native flat-out refused the change in dance partner and is “going on vacation” if the McGregor fight doesn’t take place. Honestly, I don’t blame him one bit for putting his foot down on this one.
Diaz beat McGregor at UFC 197 on eleven days’ notice and received by far the biggest payday of his career, which was in excess of $600,000. That is a huge jump from the $40,000 he earned his previous bout.
McGregor gallantly fought up two weight classes, but his punching power didn’t carry over. His lack of depth on the ground was exposed where he was submitted in the second round. The rematch would have occurred under the same conditions, per McGregor’s request.
Diaz, this time out, would have had a full training camp, which means in all likelihood this would have been an easier fight with an even a bigger payout than before. Economically it makes no sense for Diaz to take a more difficult fight, with presumably Lawler, for less money, even if it’s for the title.
Nobody wants to fight for less money than they did before. McGregor has earned multiple million dollar paychecks. Diaz just earned his first one and he doesn’t plan earning anything less going forward.
Now a rematch of a different sort will attempt to cash in as Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones will have a second go around for the undisputed light heavyweight championship. This fight has more divisional relevance, but people are still sour on Jones and are beginning to dislike Cormier.
Dana White has some promotional labor ahead of him if UFC 200 is going to come close to the kind of numbers that Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz would have delivered. As for McGregor, there will be other big fights, but he lost his seat at the table here and UFC 300 is a long ways away.