For most, Conor McGregor’s stunning victory against Diaz at UFC 202 was obvious.
McGregor dominated the fight and completely outsmarted the Stockton badboy over the five rounds. Sure, if the fight went on for an extra round or so, Nate may have bagged it as McGregor began to tire, but he didn’t.
However, one big name in the UFC doesn’t think the story is that straightforward – and that man is Nate’s coach, Richard Perez, reports Low Kick MMA.
Perez is thoroughly convinced that Nate won the fight, however, he also claims to have known that it was going to be McGregor’s hand that was lifted as the judges scores rained in.
Perez claimed that when watching the fight both live and afterwards, he scored rounds 3, 4, and 5 to Diaz – marking him the victorious one by three rounds to two.
Speaking to Submission Radio, Perez said:
I thought he [Diaz] did good. I thought he won [rounds] 3, 4 and 5. I went back and watched it again and I thought he beat him.
You can’t win a round by running and sure McGregor threw a lot of kicks in the first round. The second was pretty close, I gave it to McGregor but 3, 4 and 5 – no.
— William Hill Betting (@WilliamHill) August 21, 2016
But if Diaz had won the fight as clearly as Perez believes then why was he so confident that McGregor would be crowned the winner?
Well, it’s simple really – Perez felt that McGregor was given the win so that the UFC would make a shit-ton of money from their third and final fight – the decider.
I feel that Nathan did [win] but I knew they were going to give it to McGregor. I just felt that they were and I knew that at the end, when Nathan asked me, I said ‘well they’re going to give it to McGregor. Because I figured they’re going to want the third fight but I felt that McGregor didn’t win that fight. A lot of people know that.
I felt that they did give it to him so that they could have a third.
I watched it like five times already. The judges were going for McGregor. You could tell, it was obvious.
I figured – OK they want a third fight. A company just bought it out and they want to make more money. They just bought the UFC. If I bought the UFC, I would try to make it as best I can to get a third fight.
Doesn’t that make sense? To make more money? That’s a moneymaker right there. That’s a big moneymaker, more than any other fight that’s happening now. It would be smart to make a third fight.
Now, Perez’s argument makes one hell of a lot of sense. Of course, the UFC wants that fight to happen. It’s a guaranteed colossal amount of cash straight into the pockets of the UFC.
However, it’s probably worth noting that the UFC doesn’t employ their judges or referees for fights, they’re merely employed externally by the state athletic commission – so while it could still be fixed, the chances of this are actually significantly low.
Also, all it really takes is a mild UFC fan to give the Diaz-McGregor bout a quick once over to figure that McGregor quite clearly won the battle.
If the fight was longer then Diaz may have nabbed it, but that’s not how fights are scored and that’s not how fights are won.
McGregor won, fair and square, as far as I’m concerned.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.