Well, that escalated quickly.
Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz got into a shouting match at a UFC media event on Wednesday, just three days in advance of their Saturday rematch at UFC 202 in Las Vegas. Both parties dropped several vulgarities during the exchange and even chucked water bottles at each other.
Scott Ferrall thought it was an embarrassing and repulsive moment for McGregor, in particular. Marc Raimondi disagreed.
“We’re talking about guys who fight inside of a cage,” the MMAFighting.com assistant editor said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “This is what we watch them do every time they go out and they compete. The sport is literally cage fighting. We can’t dumb it down. We can’t sugarcoat it. It’s cage fighting. So if a guy is going to go on the air and cuss a little bit, is it really any worse than punching another guy or kicking another guy in the face? I don’t think so.”
Dana White, however, was none too pleased with his fighters’ antics.
“He really didn’t seem happy about it,” Raimondi said. “Ultimately, I think it probably helps them as far as Pay Pew View sales go. He wasn’t real happy already because McGregor was late to the press conference. Then Diaz left the press conference early. The whole spectacle of it is one of those things. It’s a lot of entertainment. There’s a lot of hype around it. It doesn’t make the sport look good. But again, if these guys are fighting in a cage, none of what happened today – even chucking Monster Energy bottles – is worse than what’s actually going to happen Saturday night. And we’re watching that for sport.”
Raimondi doesn’t believe that Wednesday’s theatrics were planned per se, but he does think fighters often speak and act for show.
“I wouldn’t say the whole thing is fake,” Raimondi said. “Knowing all the parties involved, they’re not on good enough terms to sit down in a room and (plan something). Now, do things escalate? And do guys do things a certain way because it’s fight promotion? Absolutely. Do I think guys get carried away because they know that it’s going to be some more money in their paycheck most likely? These guys are on the cut of the Pay Per View, so they get a portion of that. The more Pay Per View buys UFC does on Saturday night for UFC 202, the more money they’re going to make. So of course they’re going to hype it up a little bit more. I don’t think it’s completely pre-determined, but do I think they they escalate it a little bit on purpose for promotion? Sure, I think that happens pretty much every time. It’s happened in boxing for a very long time.”