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Nate Diaz’s penalty reduced for UFC 202 press conference skirmish with Conor McGregor

UFC 202 Press Conference
Nate Diaz’s penalty for his UFC 202 press conference skirmish with Conor McGregor has been reduced by the NAC.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Weeks after the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) moved to dramatically reduce the penalty given to Conor McGregor over the UFC 202 press conference melee, Nate Diaz received the same treatment.

Diaz’s punishment was dropped to a $15,000 fine and 15 hours of community service during a Wednesday meeting of the NAC. The adjusted amount marks a sharp departure from the $50,000 fine — or 2.5 percent of Diaz’s $2 million purse for UFC 202 — and 50 hours of community service initially handed down to him by the commission in December.

The decision, which was agreed on unanimously by members of the NAC, puts a final stamp on a saga that has dragged on for more than eight months, stemming from an Aug. 2016 press conference for UFC 202 that ended abruptly and led to a fiery skirmish between Diaz and McGregor inside of the Copperfield Theater in Las Vegas.

McGregor and members of Diaz’s team hurled several water bottles at one another across the theater, with McGregor even throwing a Monster Energy can he grabbed off the dais. The incident was heavily promoted on various media throughout the rest of fight week and ultimately helped UFC 202 become one of the highest-selling UFC pay-per-views of all-time.

Last month, the NAC moved to lower McGregor’s initial punishment of a $75,000 fine and 50 hours of community service into a more digestible $25,000 fine and 25 hours of community service. At the time, NAC executive director Bob Bennett criticized the commission’s 2016 ruling by stating, “I just didn’t think that was fair.”

On Wednesday, the NAC mirrored that train of thought for Diaz, although Nevada Deputy Attorney General Caroline Bateman also explained a distinction made between the roles Diaz and McGregor played in the bottle-throwing incident and how that swayed into their respective punishments.

“Although the conduct of both Mr. McGregor and Mr. Diaz were similar, the director (Bennett) believes that Mr. McGregor deserve a slightly higher sanction based on his enhanced conduct, notably the throwing of the full can of energy drink towards the crowd,” Bateman said.

According to Diaz’s attorney Sam Awad, Diaz has already paid his fine to the commission.

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