What a tangled web this mess has become! A week after Conor McGregor stunned the world by announcing his alleged plans for an early retirement, he “happily announces” that UFC President Dana White agreed to put him back in the UFC 200 main event.
Except that’s not what happened. A quote from ESPN follows.
“UFC officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment but later issued a statement that said simply, ‘The tweet is not accurate.’
“UFC president Dana White told TMZ Sports on Monday, ‘We haven’t talked to Conor or his manager since the press conference. I don’t know why he would tweet that.’ “
It’s hard to know what’s going on or who’s telling the truth. Conor Mcgregor previously promised “no more games.” He also provided a lengthy statement on Facebook about his motivations for not promoting the fight.
At the same time, Dana White was emphatic about the fact that Conor McGregor missed his window for being put back on UFC 200. With McGregor’s refusal to appear in Las Vegas to promote his fight, White made it clear that the new main event would likely feature Nate Diaz and a different fighter.
There’s just one problem: Diaz insisted during the April 22 press conference that he wasn’t willing to fight anyone but McGregor at UFC 200.
“I just came to fight Conor McGregor. I don’t really have too much interest in anybody else. I don’t have any interest in fighting at all. But if that’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to do it.”
It appears that Nate Diaz is a man of his word. Fox Sports reports Diaz declared he intends to go on vacation. It’s worth noting that the fighter’s tweet seemed to almost parody Conor’s prior social media announcement.
Happy to announce that I'm going on vacation #gone #100 ✌????️— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) April 26, 2016
It looks like Dana White is going to have to scramble if he wants the main card fight to be worthy of the landmark UFC 200. With the marquee event just a few months away, it seems hard to figure out which fighters would be ready to step in. Even if White were able to find a new main event, there’s no guarantee that fight fans who’ve become disillusioned by the entire debacle will be willing to pay to watch.
Is there still hope? It will depend on who’s telling the truth about the Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz fight at UFC 200.
Did McGregor tweet with the understanding that he was back on the card, only for Dana White to dismiss the announcement as revenge for Conor’s antics? If that’s the case, then perhaps there was never a chance for McGregor vs. Diaz to make it back onto the card once it was yanked. If White did tell McGregor he was back on while knowing he had no intention of making that the case, he also duped UFC fans — and that’s rather cruel.
If Conor McGregor made his Twitter announcement in the hopes of stirring up speculation and putting pressure on his UFC bosses, that would also be a cruel joke to play on his fans.
It seems that the only truly sympathetic party in this drama is Nate Diaz, a man who wanted the fight he was promised and is determined not to fight unless it’s against Conor McGregor.
Replacing that fight won’t be easy. Jon Jones volunteered to step in, and Dana confirmed to ESPN that it is possible he could face long-time rival Daniel Cormier at UFC 200. Some fans are clamoring for the opportunity to see semi-retired favorite Georges St. Pierre to make a return, possibly against Nate Diaz.
As for Conor McGregor, Sherdog quotes Dana White as saying the Irish fighter could return to action as soon as UFC 201.
[Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images]