Nate Diaz calls Mayweather-McGregor speculation a ‘publicity stunt’

Add Nate Diaz to the list of those who believe the fantasy bout between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will never happen.

Diaz defeated McGregor in March and was scheduled to rematch the Ultimate Fighting Championship superstar in the main event of UFC 200 on July 9 at T-Mobile Arena before McGregor was pulled from the bout by UFC officials for failing to meet promotional obligations.

During an interview Wednesday on The MMA Hour, Diaz said he is currently in negotiations to fight McGregor again in a bout that would most likely take place at UFC 202 on Aug. 20 in Las Vegas. That event has yet to be officially announced.

 

Should that fight be signed, it would put an end to speculation McGregor is set to square off against Mayweather in a blockbuster boxing bout in the near future.

Diaz thinks all that speculation is just a distraction anyway.

“I think the Mayweather thing is a publicity stunt,” Diaz said during the hour-long interview. “It’s great for both of them. Boxing followers will start following Conor, MMA followers are going to start following Floyd. They’re all benefiting, and no one is losing, so they’re going to keep the ball rolling.”

According to Diaz, the discussion with UFC officials about rescheduling his rematch with McGregor began shortly after a bizarre news conference at the MGM Grand in April where an empty chair was placed in the spot where McGregor would have been seated.

“They hit me up after that 200 (presser) a little while later talking about UFC 202,” Diaz said. “I didn’t even answer. I said, ‘Alright, I wonder what’s going to happen to that.’ Before you know it, I was training and I hear all of this Mayweather and McGregor (expletive). I feel like that’s just a big old publicity stunt to hide the fact that he got his (expletive) whooped (in March).”

Diaz believes part of the motivation to keep the storyline of a potential mega-fight between McGregor and Mayweather going is to keep the pressure on Diaz to just accept the fight against McGregor in a timely manner.

“I do believe that, but I’ll just call their bluff,” Diaz said. “Go over and fight that (expletive) and I’ll be right here waiting.”

UFC president Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta flew to Los Angeles last week to meet with McGregor. Two days later, they flew to Northern California to meet with Diaz in his hometown of Stockton.

No agreement was reached, but Diaz is confident the rematch will happen.

“We finished talking and we walked out. It wasn’t the worst meeting,” Diaz said. “It wasn’t the best meeting, but it wasn’t the worst, either. It was cool, they were cool, we were cool. We didn’t both leave on the happiest notes, but we are getting stuff done moving forward.”

Diaz said he told White and Fertitta he just wants to make sure he gets justly rewarded before accepting the fight.

“I just basically told them what was up. I said this (was one of the) biggest fights they’ve had,” Diaz said. “I believe I had a lot to do with that draw. If you don’t mind, I would like to be compensated better than (what I was being offered).”

While nothing has been agreed to, Diaz said he thinks White and Fertitta understand his position and he has been in contact with them as his manager negotiates the fight.

“I think things will get figured out,” Diaz said.

As for the hypothetical boxing match, Diaz said he would be a better choice to step in the ring with Mayweather.

“Mayweather’s the best boxer that there is at winning fights. I’m not even going to go there,” Diaz said. “I haven’t been in high-level boxing matches like that, but I guarantee I’d do better than McGregor would.”

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj

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