LAS VEGAS -- In case there was any lingering doubt, footage of a furious Conor McGregor hammered home the point that Nate Diaz scored an early victory at UFC 202 fight week when he and his team stole the headlines from the pre-fight press conference by storming out and provoking the wild, bottle-throwing scene opposite Team McGregor.
Diaz's training partner and UFC debutant Chris Avila was in the center of the confusion, and not surprisingly Avila enjoyed watching McGregor's reaction after the Irishman realized the press conference had been brought to a premature end less than three minutes after the tardy UFC featherweight champion took his seat.
"He looked like he was throwing a tantrum after," said Avila, who fights McGregor teammate Artem Lobov at UFC 202. "From the looks of it, Nate's in his head, his tantrum yesterday and the fit he threw on stage.
"We're 1-0 now. It's started. It all starts when you get here, so we're 1-0 right now. We won the press conference. Out of all the McGregor press conferences he's ever had, he's done lost them all with Nate. I don't think people get that (how important the mental games are). That's for them to not get. That's their fault."
Immediately after the press conference ended, UFC cameras captured McGregor stewing over the situation and asking UFC president Dana White why Diaz stormed out instead of keeping the action going. McGregor then unleashed an expletive filled rant towards Diaz at UFC 202's open workouts, proclaiming, "f*ck the Diaz brothers, f*ck those cockroaches," while Diaz simply shrugged off the incident as a matter of personal pride.
White said later that both Diaz and McGregor were in "big trouble" and could potentially face sanctions from the Nevada Athletic Commission. The commission's executive director, Bob Bennett, echoed a similar sentiment to MMA Fighting, stating that the NAC is reviewing video of the incident and may discuss the matter further at its September meeting.
Ultimately, even Avila ended up getting a talking-to regarding the situation.
"Dana called me," Avila said. "He called me, he told me what's up. We talked. Everything's cool though. We got it all figured out. Things shouldn't happen like that."
In the end though, any fines Diaz and McGregor may face will likely be offset by the number of extra pay-per-views they sold with the press conference scuffle. And after watching Diaz be trapped in a messy contract dispute with the UFC for the last two years, Avila is excited to see Diaz finally make the kind of money a veteran with a decade of experience at the highest level of the game should be making.
"It's cool, man," Avila said. "I'm happy for him. I know he's been putting in work for a lot longer than all of these fighters, and he's been trying to get it out there, like, ‘hey, what's up, I've been fighting the top guys in the world. Now I want to get paid.' But he's just been stuck.
"The guy had to suffer for a while, but you know what, he got up, he f*cking worked his ass off, all of the time, 24/7. McGregor was a little shortcut, but he was going to get it regardless, man. So it's good. It's good to see him make some decent money."
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