You know what I would do if I made $100-million fighting Floyd Mayweather? Complete and utter debauchery.
It’s a good thing Conor McGregor has far more focus and drive than me.
While currently serving a two-month medical suspension, McGregor will be sitting on his piles of money and plotting his next big move. No matter what those plans entail, it will most likely be inside a UFC Octagon with the early rumors being a trilogy date with Nate Diaz at UFC 219 (December 30th).
Recently, former UFC fighter and now ESPN commentator Chael Sonnen was on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, where he poured more gasoline on the McGregor vs. Diaz fire.
“He [McGregor] gets this sport and he says something very cool, he’s talking about, Nate Diaz,” Sonnen said. “I do think that Nate is going to be next, a little inside information, I’m sure you have the same information, I think that’s going to go down in late December.
But, what I respect about Conor, and he brought this up with you when you guys did the one man show and he said, ‘We got one a piece. We got to do the third,’ that’s a guy who respects the history of the sport. As much as he’s paving his own path he’s showing respect for tradition and he’s right. When you are one apiece you go to the third. That’s what the sport says, that’s what history says. It’s the right thing to do and I think he’s going to do it.”
It might be the right thing to do, but it doesn’t mean it will happen.
Even Dana White has gone on record in the past stating that he’s not too sure he wants to see a McGregor/Diaz trilogy fight due to the damage both men sustained the last two times out. “There’s only so many of those wars you can be in [in] your career,” White told ESPN’s, Michael Kay. “It takes a lot out of you. Some guys go into wars like that and they’re never the same after it.”
However, legitimate health concerns aside, if McGregor wants that fight, Dana will giveth. The biggest hurdle will be the almighty dollar and how much McGregor will demand now that he has stood on top of the pay-per-view mountain. He now holds a lot more cards than the last time he negotiated with White, and the UFC will have to bend to a lot of his demands.
But all of that maneuvering with McGregor pales in comparison to what the UFC will have to deal with when negotiating with Nate Diaz and his crew. According to Diaz’s boxing coach, Richard Perez, he believes the 32-year-old deserves somewhere in the range of $20 to $30-million for a third fight.
Thank goodness Perez is not Diaz’s agent.
It would be surprising if the Stockton native got that kind of moola but he does have an argument to get a significant raise and, yes, maybe another chance to slap Dana White.
Both Diaz brothers (Nate and Nick) have a history of playing hardball with the UFC President and if you thought the Mayweather/McGregor festivities were tough to put together, you can expect even harder sparring sessions with both the McGregor and Diaz camps over the next few weeks.
Both of their previous bouts (UFC 196 and UFC 202) pulled in well over 1.5 million buys each. That doesn’t include the record-breaking business the UFC claimed it did on its own network with streaming PPV as the company doesn’t release those numbers publically.
UFC 202, alone, was the most successful non-boxing pay-per-view event in the history of combat sports with both Diaz ($2 million guaranteed plus share of PPV revenue) and McGregor ($3 million guaranteed plus share of PPV revenue) receiving two of the three largest announced purses in UFC history. Each also got a $50,000 fight-of-the-night bonus which was probably spent at the bar afterward.
Those types of dollars are not going to cut it this time around.
If the UFC can come to an agreement with both parties, and that’s a big if, the fight will most likely happen in Las Vegas. Negotiations would have to be smooth sailing for a fight of this magnitude to happen within the time frame of UFC 219 but both camps would be wise to strike when the iron is hot. And the UFC needs the trilogy fight sooner rather than later. This year has been slow in terms of pay-per-view dollars. The powers that be at the UFC head office would love to see their Irish cash-cow headline their end of year card, and that might have to happen with or without Nate Diaz.
So if these negotiations stall out for too long on the Diaz side, then you could see Dana White look to other options, like Khabib Nurmagomedov. He would need to show he is healthy and can make 155 pounds in a safe manner, but it is a plausible plan B.
That’s a very long-winded way of saying there are many puzzle pieces to put together to make this trilogy-fight rumor a reality. Will it happen? Below are all the odds one could muster in regards to Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 3.
Given how the last fight went, and McGregor’s boxing being at an even more dangerous level now, the third fight could go down a similar road as the second fight. Both men are tough outs, so a five-round war is probable. With an improved striking game, the chances also increase that McGregor could end Diaz within two rounds.
Obviously, don’t sleep on Nate’s jiu-jitsu game, which is always a threat to end any fight, as we saw the first time these two tangled at UFC 196. That said, that ground game was fairly ineffective the last time out at UFC 202, so a new game plan would have to be implemented. Right now McGregor has to be the early favorite.
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