The amazing spectacle of both athleticism and respect between Conor McGregor at UFC 202 is continuing to be tarnished somewhat because of the litany of excuses still emanating from the Diaz camp.
Speaking earlier this week on Submission Radio, the fighter’s boxing coach Richard Perez laid out an extensive list of injuries that Diaz had been dealing with in camp.
He backed up Diaz’ claim in his octagon interview with Joe Rogan that he was in a worse state coming into the second fight compared to their first bout, despite that being at very short notice.
Perez commented, ‘Yes I do because the eight days that we really trained, he went all out. I mean he wasn’t injured. So it was good just trying to get in shape. He was in good shape the second time but then he injured the knee so that set him back.’ Perez then documented how a sparring session with boxer Alan Sanchez resulted in a rib injury.
Perez was then quizzed on why they did not withdraw from the fight. His answer was that there was so much money on the table pulling out was the last thing they wanted to do. Pointing to the example of Rafael Dos Anjos, who missed out on a lucrative fight with McGregor due to injury and subsequently lost his belt on a far less prestigious ‘Fight Night’ card, Perez explained that Nate’s reaction was, ‘No, we can’t do that.
“They’ll put me aside so I have to fight. And it makes sense y’know. If he were to say “oh I can’t do it” they would have been like Dos Anjos and they would have put somebody else in. And Nathan wouldn’t have gotten that shot again. So he took a chance, and I thought he did good. I thought he won 3, 4 and 5 but y’know. And I went back home and watched it again and I thought he beat him, y’know because you can’t win a round by running.”
The fact he mentions McGregor’s supposed ‘running’ particularly leaves a sour taste since resetting the way he did is considered a legitimate technique that one should use, especially when fighting against a bigger opponent. UFC fighters who have given their opinion on whether or not team Diaz have a point have en masse defended McGregor’s tactics so the former really doesn’t seem to have a leg to stand on.
Speaking of legs, it’s important to remember that McGregor did leave the arena on crutches due to an injury he sustained in the first round when Diaz checked one of his kicks, so it’s not as if he got lucky and was fighting at full capacity for the entire fight either.
There is a lot to like about the Diaz brothers but one annoying trait that they share is that they rarely, if ever, acknowledge when they have been beaten. Nick Diaz complained that he felt he, ‘won every round’ against Anderson Silva in a fight that was scored unanimously for ‘The Spider’ by two judges with the other one giving Diaz the edge on just one round. Similarly, he has expressed his dissatisfaction at judges at other times too, complaining after losses to Carlos Condit and Georges St-Pierre.
For a pair of brothers that pride themselves on being ‘real’, Nick and Nate seem to live in a delusional fantasy world where they always come out on top, regardless of how neutral observers view it.
Nate should be commending Conor fully for edging him in an instant classic rather than giving him backhanded compliments like, ‘He should have finished me off. If I would’ve been fighting me, I would’ve taken me clean out. That’s my take on the whole fight. I want number three. I gave him number two, so let’s do it.’
It is this unwillingness to admit their faults that will likely keep them from ever improving enough to win a UFC belt. It is also likely to irritate McGregor to the point that he will instead opt for a fight with Eddie Alvarez or José Aldo as his next move.
Vincent Whelan, Pundit Arena