UFC President Dana White is used to tempers flaring between fighters, but today it seems that White is the one who lost his cool. According to TMZ, Dana was meeting with Nate Diaz to discuss putting together a rematch with Conor McGregor, but shortly after Diaz, White, and Lorenzo Fertitta finished their lunch, White stormed out to his SUV and left.
When TMZ contacted White for a comment, Dana simply said, “Obviously I’m not going to disclose details of the deal, but let’s just say my trip to Stockton didn’t go well.” White’s blow-up with Diaz comes as a surprise considering Diaz had put up a picture of himself with Dana and Lorenzo on his Instagram earlier in the day, with all three men sporting smiles.
No one is sure what caused White to storm out of the meeting, but the speculation is that Dana’s reaction has something to do with money. White and the UFC have long been criticized for providing their fighters with low wages compared to the income those fights generate for the UFC. While Conor McGregor has little to complain about, reportedly being the first fighter to make $1 million plus much more in bonuses for his fight against Nate Diaz in March, Nate has been critical of Dana White’s statement that he walked away with “millions.”
“I made a good amount of money. I think they’re (Dana White and the UFC) overexaggerating how much,” Diaz told ESPN. Nate went on to criticize the many years he has suffered from White’s stinginess in fighter pay. “I was screwed for a long time. My problem was I was a soldier for a long time. I never even considered money, it was more about not getting my *** whooped.”
Despite Diaz’s complaints about pay, Dana White’s flaring temper is something that UFC fans would’ve expected to be an issue more so in Dana’s meeting with Conor McGregor yesterday. White met up with McGregor for the first time since Conor and Nate’s rematch was pulled from UFC 200.
Last month, McGregor made things tense for Dana White and the rest of the UFC when Conor refused to leave training for the UFC 200 press junket. At the time, McGregor took to Twitter stating he was retiring due to White’s refusal to give him a pass on attending press conferences. Conor’s tactics in pushing Dana into a corner failed when White immediately pulled the Diaz/McGregor match from the UFC 200 fight card.
Conor’s desperate tweet a few days later made things even more awkward when McGregor attempted to back Dana White into an even tighter corner by publicly commending Dana for putting the fight back on the UFC 200 card.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 25, 2016
Dana White of course would go on to stand his ground with McGregor, insisting that Conor was absolutely not going to be a part of UFC 200. “We haven’t talked to Conor or his manager since the press conference,” White told the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t know why he would tweet that.”
While some might think Dana White would be better to wash his hands of the drama of Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor, in truth, if the cause of Dana storming off today was regarding money, White may want to carefully consider his position on the matter. According to Fox Sports, UFC 196, the event in which McGregor and Diaz first met up, was the most successful pay-per-view event in UFC history.
At the time, Dana White remarked, “These are things that captures people’s imaginations. That’s why the thing does 1.5 million pay-per-view buys, cause it captures the imagination of fight fans and then when it lives up to the building, when it lives up to what it was supposed to be.”
Maybe Dana White has forgotten the imaginative spark that he so proudly touted. Or maybe Dana’s walking out in a fit of rage today was just a pre-planned ploy to spark new interest in a rematch.
[Dana White cover image via Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images.]