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UFC 202: Will the Conor McGregor/Nate Diaz trilogy fight be at 155?

By Zach Arnold | August 17, 2016

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Ticket sales weren’t so hot heading into the Conor McGregor/Nate Diaz re-match at UFC 202. There was more interest online than locally in Vegas. That changed.

Then there was the water bottle session at the Wednesday presser, resulting in Dana White claiming he would fine both fighters “massively” and efforting settlement offers with spectators.

The weigh-ins Friday featured police all over the stage when McGregor and Diaz did their celebratory posing for the media and fans. WWE wrestlers went after McGregor verbally, including Brock Lesnar who said that his turds are bigger than McGregor.

Heading into fight time, Conor McGregor was a very slight favorite. The late money from bettors started to come in on his side, making him a -130 favorite. And then the fight happened and it was everything you expected it to be. The 170 pound weight distinction made this a challenge for both men. They went the distance, they went 5 rounds, and McGregor won a majority decision in a fight that could have been genuinely scored either way.

The fight played out exactly the way that the EA Sports simulation on ESPN on Friday demonstrated. Scarily so.

Gate was $7.7 million with 15,600 in the arena.

This fight saved Conor McGregor’s career. It also made Nate Diaz, bizarrely, an almost sure-fire lock for the UFC Hall of Fame. For UFC, their hopes of pushing McGregor back into Featherweight at 145 and Diaz at LW (155) just got postponed again. They cannot resist promoting a third and final fight between these two men. There’s too much money at stake.

Everyone walks away making money with an option of making even more money. The question is what the agenda is after the trilogy. Those thoughts will have to be delayed now.

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 14 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

14 Responses to “UFC 202: Will the Conor McGregor/Nate Diaz trilogy fight be at 155?”

  1. David m says:

    Zach, I have heard more casual fans talking about this fight than any fight since Conor v Diaz 1. I believe you are way off base on lack of mainstream appeal for the bout, and that this will pop a huge ppv . As for tickets, perhaps you are correct.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    How does any real fight fan justify buying this PPV? I can see the regular fans who just like to see “big” fights. But this fight card is complete junk.

    • jim allcorn says:

      I wouldn’t say it was junk, I mean, in retrospect, obviously the main event was worth the price of the PPV.
      But, yeah, the first three bouts on the PPV portion really didn’t belong. They were FS1 level affairs at best.
      But, Cerrone-Story had the makings of a war.
      Unfortunately for Story though, Cerrone looks like a new ( destructive ) man at 170. This is the second fight in a row in which he’s been the first man to KO his opponent. Both of them, big, strong welterweights who have always been teak tough, but who crumbled to “Cowboy”.
      Of course, having already beaten the new lightweight champ Alvarez recently, he’d like another shot at the ‘55 lb belt, but I think McGregor will swoop in & take that opportunity. So, Cerrone should really stay at ‘70 & shoot for the Woodly-Thompson winner.

      As for the top featured prelim, what more can be said about AJ? Him & his freakish, almost unbelievable power are title bound. And this time, I think he finishes DC. It almost seems inevitable.
      And, if he does become light heavyweight champ & JBJ remains suspended for a significant amount of time, having already cleaned out the 205 division, I could see AJ being the first light heavy champ to be given a shot at the heavyweight title. And, with that power, I think he’d be a very live dog against either Stipe or Overeem..

      • 45 Huddle says:

        AJ’s cardio is still a huge question mark. If he can’t KO somebody in the first round, he could still gas. He still looks slightly bloated.

        When I heard Rashad Evans talk about AJ on the pre-show, he talked about how he changed things up. But never once did he say the obvious…. that he needs a lot more cardio work.

  3. Chris says:

    I beg to differ Zach. UFC 202 will break PPV records because Dana white said so!

  4. Tradition Rules says:

    I’ll go to my favorite. locally owned sports bar (only a mile from where I live), and enjoy the show for what it’s worth, but I’m certainly not “ga-ga” over the main event rematch….

    I’m looking forward to, hopefully seeing Diaz beat McGregor’s ass, because I’m sick of hearing him talk.

    McGregor is saying he probably won’t fight at 145 again,and he hasn’t even defended his title once, so strip him of the title and make Jose Aldo the offical Featherweight Champ….PLEASE.

  5. David M says:

    What a fight, and what a card. Zach’s gloom and doom was totally absurd for this fight, as I predicted. The amount of mainstream discussion this fight sparked was amazing. Looking forward to the rematch, and glad fighters are starting to get the money they deserve out in the open, not just in ppv bonuses (Conor got disclosed $3m and Nate got disclosed $2m).

    • Zach Arnold says:

      And Dana promptly, on cue, goes on ESPN and says Conor will defend the Featherweight belt next instead of taking one last squeeze of the trilogy juice.

      You are absolutely correct that it turned out to be a popular spectacle after the water bottle fight.

  6. jim allcorn says:

    Although there’s been some backlash from fans as a result of Diaz disclosing that he suffered injuries in camp that hindered his performance, it was clear to me from the start that something was definitely “off” with him. Basically, he looked like shit & spent much of the fight appearing to have no game plan at all, other than outlasting McGregor.
    And yet, despite Nate’s awful performance & McGregor’s excellent strategy, I still had Nate winning by a point.
    But, I’m not going to bellyache about the decision as it was close enough to go either way.
    IMO, a draw would have been a good call.
    But, in a close fight involving the UFC’s “franchise player”, it was obvious that the nod would go to McGregor.

    So, what next for both men?
    Although Dana keeps saying that a featherweight title defense is next, I really doubt that happens. I think Conor will give up the ‘45 lb belt & challenge Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title. Probably in MSG.
    Nate?
    I think he needs a good six months off to heal up. He’s taken a lot of punishment in his two wars with McGregor & should take it easy for a while. Then, he can pretty much pick & choose his next opponent. He’s transcended to the same level as his brother Nick now. Where every fight is
    an event & a $$$ fight.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Half of the time the Diaz brothers lose, they “looked like shit & spent much of the fight appearing to have no game plan at all”. It is part of who they are. They don’t have great fighter IQ’s. They are super tough and have great stamina. But they have been outsmarted many times in the cage.

      And no it is not obvious that McGregor would win a close fight with the judges.

      What is obvious is that MMA Junkie scored it 48-47 for McGregor. So did F4Weekly. Bloody Elbow had McGregor winning. And Sherdog’s 3 scorers exactly matched the final score cards. In fact, except for butt hurt Diaz fans, the MMA Media basically all had McGregor winning.

      And if you loo at the actual score cards of the judges, they got it 100% right compared to what the MMA Media had too.

  7. Chaels Roided Left Nut says:

    Regarding the injury excuse stuff by Nate

    Any fans whining about Nate being hurt, that was possibly a reason why he lost . . . come on, they are being stupid.

    Realty is most every fighter has some level of strains, sprains or injuries by the time the fight happens, and on top of that, it’s almost business as usual for the loser (as well as winner even too) to casually ‘drop’ a few stories how something was holding them back injury wise, in the aftermath of a fight. It happens ALL THE TIME. It’s human nature to make excuses, even top level athletes.

    Realty is this though. Nate was just angry and making excuses. There was not ONE single thing ‘off’ about him during that fight, based on how he performed. This was how Diaz fights. In fact, the fight played out pretty close to how it worked last time when Nate was supposedly as healthy as can be: 1) Connor getting the better of things while both guys were fresh, 2) Connor getting winded a bit, with Nate then pouring it on.

    More so, do we need to be reminded that this was also the same Nate Diaz that bragged about how he only trained a week last time, and was picked up from Cabo, drinking at a bar last time with no preparation? How that’s all he needed to win, cause “that’s how he rolls”. Yeah. How soon some fans forget this. Nate had a full training camp this time. Months to prepare, which was months longer than last time.

    If one has watched any MMA at all, they would know that Nate fought how he always fights. Taking shots, straight stand up volume punching, with a healthy of dose of middle finger (as well as the ‘Stockton Slap’) and other in-fight taunting. The only major difference in this fight was that Connor didn’t relentlessly head hunt early on, instead relying on a bit more of a game plan using kicks and pacing. This allowed the fight to go the distance.

    The end result was fair too. Connor didn’t get any gifts or freebies from the judges. This was a pretty clean match to judge. Connor clearly won rounds one and four. Nate won rounds three and five. There was only one (judging wise) close round, which was the second, and if one didn’t nut-ride, they could see Connor won it 10-9. He landed more significant strikes (per FS1), controlled most of the round, AND most importantly, had one or two knockdowns. That’s a 10-9 round win. Easily. All three judges had it that way. The only people who didn’t, were Diaz nut-riders.

    We ended up seeing the best Nate Diaz out there, the best he can be, and the same for Connor. Two great fighters who BOTH probably brought some soreness and injuries into the fight, who did their best. A fight that was probably the best of the year, and one the fans will remember a long time, with both fighters getting justifiably well paid too. A win for everyone.

    So let’s please leave the excuse making bullshit at home

  8. Chaels Roided Left Nut says:

    To Zach

    You said,

    “Ticket sales weren’t so hot heading into the Conor McGregor/Nate Diaz re-match at UFC 202. There was more interest online than locally in Vegas. That changed.”

    I would beg to differ on this. The tickets might have been priced a bit to high ($10,000 seat, wtf??), but all in all, it seems like a lot of splitting hairs over nothing. The first time Connor fought Diaz (UFC 196), the event did 14,697 for attendance, getting $8.1M. UFC 202 was pretty much the same, getting slightly more people, with a bit smaller gate, 15,539 fans and $7.7M. Is there really any story here? No. The event did well, getting the 5th biggest gate ever.

    What is being left out by writers like Zach (deliberately?) is that circumstances were different this summer from Connor’s epic event against Aldo. UFC 194 did 16,516 in attendance for $10.1M. That event had the luxury of being Connor’s first attempt at Aldo’s belt, with a much longer than usual buildup in hype. UFC 194 was also on an island in December of ‘15, without any real competition in events. Ronda had fought a month earlier, and the only other event after was a Robbie Lawler’s defense in Jan (no real threat there for fans)

    UFC 202? It had UFC 200 six weeks before. An immensely hyped event that drew a lot of fans. UFC 202 was also the event Connor was supposed to fight on earlier in late spring. A lot of fans just can’t fly out on a week’s notice. Many buy their tickets months before. Having Connor’s fight flipped around, then cancelled, then redone in early summer, surely took a few thousands foreign traveling fans out of the picture. They just couldn’t adequately plan. Not all of us have press passes.

    So in light of the circumstances, this was a very successful event. One in which the above circumstances should have been mentioned by the media in out of fairness. But hey, who can be fair, when grinding an ax is so much more fun…right?

    • Duck says:

      4 fights headlining in Vegas in just over a year, Conor has even said he would prefer fighting at home or on the East Coast were there is more Irish Americans and it’s cheaper to fly over to the East Coast from Ireland, New York and Madison Square Garden is probably were he wants to fight if not in Ireland in a stadium.

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