Diaz: "They didn't want my stock getting any higher, but they couldn't stop it." Raymond Spencer/INPHO
Different Strokes

Diaz: I was the 'money fight' long before McGregor - but they tried to shut me up

Nate Diaz criticises UFC and media ‘push’ that has made McGregor a superstar.

– Niall Kelly reports from Las Vegas

NATE DIAZ HAS hit out at the UFC and the media for allowing Conor McGregor to build his superstar reputation — and for silencing him when he tried to do the same thing.

Diaz and McGregor go head-to-head in the main event at UFC 196 on Saturday night, McGregor’s first ever fight at welterweight.

Early industry reports indicate that it could challenge the pay-per-view record for a non-title bout which currently stands at one million buys.

Breaking that record would further enhance McGregor’s claim to be the biggest draw in the organisation right now.

But 30-year-old Diaz, who made his UFC debut in 2007 and has an 18-10 record, says he was sidelined when he tried to promote himself in a similar way to McGregor.

The way that he’s been saying he’s the ‘money fight’ — I’ve been saying that forever too but they got wind of that and they tried to shut me up.

“They told me to keep that ‘big money fight’ shit on the low, so they kind of tried to keep me on the low and then when he said it, it’s his new thing.

“As far as mixed martial arts and who the real fighter is and the big fights, I’ve already been talking about that since before he was in the UFC.

“Now he’s like this new guy with all this new stuff and everybody’s pushing it. It’s on every article and every headline.”

Diaz admitted that he is a fan of McGregor’s fast-talking style, backed up by exciting performances, but he criticised the media for giving the Notorious an easy ride.

I’m a big fan of what he does too. He puts it out there. He says the real shit just like I say. I’m more a critic of the push that he’s getting.

“(The media) are kicking him on — ‘Go ahead, keep talking’ — but they wanted me in the back and to keep me on the down low. That’s what I mean by I’ve been saying the same kind of thing.

“He’s doing a good job.

I don’t know if it was the media or the UFC but I feel like they didn’t want my stock getting any higher, but they couldn’t stop it. Look at where I am right now.

“(It was happening) all along, especially when I started pitching for a bigger payday and better results for what’s going on here because I’ve been putting in a lot of time and a lot of work.

“I’ve been in this career now for a good little minute, two careers long in the NFL or baseball. I’m putting in a lot and I’m just wondering when it’s all going to pay back.

“Unfortunately it has to be on a week’s notice but finally I feel like something’s coming back.”

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