Thursday, August 18, 2022

White Defends Diaz/Chimaev Booking: “It’s A Fight People Want To See”

UFC President Dana White has defended the promotion’s decision to book Octagon mainstay Nate Diaz against rising welterweight star Khamzat Chimaev.

For months, Diaz has slammed the MMA leader online and in interviews for failing to grant him the final fight of his active deal. While he’d called to face a variety of names, from Dustin Poirier to Tony Ferguson, nothing came to fruition, leading many to come to the conclusion that the UFC were holding the Stockton native ahead of Conor McGregor‘s return.

Sharing the same sentiment himself, Diaz claimed to be being held “hostage” by the promotion. Well, on September 10, the SWAT team will move in to secure Diaz’s departure. The only drawback? The main officer is “Borz,” and he’ll have his gun firmly pointed at the self-professed UFC ‘prisoner’.

After the announcement of the UFC 279 main event, many fans and pundits expressed less than positive views at the decision to have Chimaev, an undefeated 11-0 professional who’s torn through his opposition en route to the welterweight top five, provide Diaz’s farewell.

That includes former title challenger Dan Hardy, who branded the move an “assassination” on the UFC’s part. But the promotion’s chief has dismissed such a thought, claiming that he ‘cares’ about Diaz.

Not sure Diaz will see that as heartwarming…

White: I Care About Diaz A Lot

During the post-fight press conference following Tuesday’s return of Dana White’s Contender Series, the UFC president responded to the backlash since UFC 279’s headliner was made official.

After insisting that he cares about the Stockton native, who’s been competing inside the Octagon since winning The Ultimate Fighter 5 lightweight tournament in 2007, White suggested that, as well as Diaz himself requesting the matchup, a collision with Chimaev is something the fans want to see.

“I care about Nate a lot.” White said. “I like Nate, and Nate came in here, long before that fight was ever made, and we were talking about it being his last fight, and I said, ‘Listen, kid. You think about the wars that Nate Diaz has put on and the incredible fights and the big fights that he’s done with us, go do whatever you want to do, man.’ 

“But getting a fight done with him isn’t as easy as seems. Everybody’s like, ‘Well, why don’t you make a fight?’ Well, he asked for Francis Ngannou. I could go on forever, but I won’t. We got it done. That’s the fight he wanted,” White continued. “We made it, and here we are. And it’s a good fight. It’s a fight people want to see. It’s a fight that people will be interested in, so we’re going to do it.” (h/t MMA Fighting)

As well as a significant portion of the fanbase questioning the fight, Chimaev himself has made his intentions clear on social media, with a number of posts expressing his hopes to bring about Diaz’s funeral come September 10.

Should Hardy’s “assassination” hypothesis prove correct, Chimaev is certainly well aware of his assignment…

What do you make of the decision to book Nate Diaz against Khamzat Chimaev?

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