Nate Diaz: Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor proposal a 'publicity stunt'

ByBrett Okamoto ESPN logo
Thursday, May 26, 2016

Nate Diaz says he's willing to call the Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather bluff.

In an interview with The MMA Hour on Wednesday, Diaz confirmed he is currently in negotiations to fight McGregor for the second time at UFC 202, which is expected to take place Aug. 20 in Las Vegas. The rematch was originally signed to headline UFC 200 on July 9, but the promotion pulled McGregor from the event last month when he refused to fly to Las Vegas to participate in promotional obligations.

Diaz, who submitted McGregor at UFC 196 in March, met with UFC president Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta last week in Stockton, California, but could not agree to financial terms for the rematch. Looming over the talks, oddly enough, is a proposed boxing match between McGregor and retired superstar Floyd Mayweather. Diaz, 31, called the proposal a "publicity stunt" and said it wouldn't affect how he negotiates the rematch.

"I think the Mayweather thing is a publicity stunt," Diaz said. "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.

"But every day I hear about this Mayweather s---, it's always about, 'Am I going to take the 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 [Mayweather], I'll be right here.'"

Asked about the potential superfight with Mayweather, McGregor told ESPN, "[Mayweather] needs me. I don't need him. That's the truth of it. Who else can he fight? He fights someone else in the boxing realm, and it's like, all of a sudden the pay goes from $100 million to $15 million. He needs me. If he wants to talk, we'll talk, but it's me who's in control here."

Diaz (19-10), who has sparred with former world boxing champion Andre Ward in California, couldn't help but add that if he boxed Mayweather, "I guarantee I'd do better than McGregor would."

In a text to immediately after the meeting with Diaz last week, White simply said, "It wasn't a good day," regarding negotiations on the rematch. Although the two sides weren't able to come to a deal, Diaz said a TMZ report about White storming out of the restaurant was exaggerated.

"Nothing is done, but I don't think any damage was done," Diaz said. "We're still on good terms. I've been texting with Dana. He's real cool. I'm sure he wasn't the happiest at the moment, and I was thinking, 'Wow, I might have pissed him off.' But I just said what I had to say. I told him at the end, 'I don't want to piss anyone off. I'm just trying to get mine, because it's time to get mine. It's been a long road. I need to get mine while I can. If not, I don't think I ever will.'

"He was like, 'I understand, man. It's not about pissing people off. It's not about us being pissed. We've just got to figure it out.' So we've been texting back and forth."

On whether he ultimately wants the rematch with McGregor, Diaz said he didn't care one way or the other. He said it's McGregor (19-3) who needs the rematch, after losing the first fight. Diaz did say he and McGregor are the UFC's two biggest draws at the moment, however, so it's the fight that fans want to see.

"A lot of people know Conor McGregor is a big draw," Diaz said, "but I know, whether they want to say it or not, I put up bigger numbers than anybody, too."

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