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Morning Report: Dana White addresses issues surrounding Nick Diaz-Robbie Lawler and Dan Hooker-Nasrat Haqparast fights

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UFC 265: Press Conference Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

It wouldn’t be a UFC fight weekend if there wasn’t some last-minute drama.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that the highly anticipated lightweight bout for this weekend’s UFC 266 card between Dan Hooker and Nasrat Haqparast was in jeopardy as both Hooker and Haqparast were facing visa issues to enter the United States. Hooker ultimately had his issues resolved and is scheduled to land in Vegas on Thursday evening, lass than a day before weigh-ins, but Haqparast is still waiting to hear back from the U.S. Consulate in Germany. But even though nothing has been officially solved yet, UFC President Dana White is confident they’re going to get this settled in time for the fight to go on.

“We’re working on it,” White said at the press conference following last night’s Contender Series. “We should be able to get this done. I’m hoping we can. You guys have no idea how much sh*t we deal with with visa and stuff, and we’ve got a really good team that saves our ass on a lot of shows. So we should be able to get this done. I’m confident we can.”

The Hooker-Haqparast fight isn’t the only one facing last-minute troubles though. On Tuesday, reports also surfaced of Nick Diaz wanting to have his scheduled welterweight fight against Robbie Lawler to be turned into a middleweight bout. While no official decision has been made about the fight, White confirmed that the request had been made and speculated why Diaz wanted it moved.

“Robbie Lawler texted me that he’ll hit me when he lands,” White said. “So Robbie wants to talk to me about this whole thing. This all happened while I was out of town this weekend. I know that the Diaz camp wants to fight at 185... I don’t know, he probably doesn’t want to make weight. Listen, every time you come into a Diaz fight, you know what I mean? And we forget because we haven’t seen Nick in a few years.”

Diaz has not competed since January of 2015 when he faced former middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 183 and his return to the cage has been the cause of much speculation over the past few years. Last year, the rumors of a return reached a fever pitch when Diaz made a test weight cut in preparation for a comeback. Diaz is currently still scheduled to face Lawler this weekend in a five-round non-title fight on the main card of UFC 266.

Lastly, White also addressed the current status of another UFC star who hasn’t been seen in awhile: Jon Jones. Jones had an interesting 2020, defending his light heavyweight title against Dominick Reyes in February before getting into a dispute with the UFC over his contract. Ultimately, Jones chose to vacate his light heavyweight title and stated his intention to move up to the heavyweight division. This week, Jones will be enshrined in the UFC Hall of Fame for his bout with Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 and when asked about the possible timeline for Jones’ return, White didn’t have much to offer. UFC

“If I see him, I’ll see him,” White said. “I think I know where he’s at. He said he’ll fight next year. I’m not pushing him to fight, if that’s what you’re asking me.”

It was believed that Jones would face the winner of the heavyweight title fight between Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou earlier this year, but as Jones is still at loggerheads with the UFC over compensation. The UFC has moved on from that fight for now, crowning Ciryl Gane as interim champion. Ngannou and Gane are expected to unify their titles later this year.


TOP STORIES

Results. Four fighters earned contracts on a decision heavy Contender Series card.

Professionalism. Dana White: Showtime ‘couldn’t be f*cking dumber’ for Canelo Alvarez vs. Caleb Plant presser fight.

Negotiations. Jake Paul claims Tommy Fury twice turned down fight, ups offer to $1 million.

Arrest. Dillon Danis charged with disorderly conduct after alleged incident at Jersey Shore bar.

Belief. Leon Edwards believes the UFC is ‘trying to get me beat, but I cannot lose’.


VIDEO STEW

Contender Series announcements.

Embedded.

Alexander Volkanovski’s journey to UFC champion.

Top-5 TUF coaches fights.

The legendary Spyda drill.


LISTEN UP

Fighter vs. Writer. Gilbert Melendez discusses Nick Diaz’s return.

UFC Unfiltered. An interview with Joseph Benavidez.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

The biggest fail of Conor’s career.

Reaction.

The beef continues.

Cody getting into it.

Volkanovski getting love from The Rock.

Michael Chiesa has a brand.

Staying salty.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Matt Brown (23-18) vs. Bryan Barbarena (15-8); UFC Fight Night, Dec. 4.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Who wins this weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    Robbie Lawler
    (508 votes)
  • 45%
    Nick Diaz
    (429 votes)
937 votes total Vote Now

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