It shouldn’t come as a total surprise but Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz nearly came to blows Thursday, two days before their UFC 196 main event fight.
The two traded barbs at the official pre-fight press conference and had to be separated by UFC president Dana White as they squared off for reporters and photographers in Las Vegas.
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Things nearly got out of control when McGregor slapped Diaz’s hand but security stepped in to throw water on the situation.
If a full-out brawl had erupted it wouldn’t be the first time Diaz and his team became involved in one. Back in 2010, at a Strikeforce event in Nashville, Diaz along with his brother Nick and teammates Gilbert Melendez and Jake Shields were involved in an infamous in-cage brawl with Jason “Mayhem” Miller following Shields’ fight with Dan Henderson.
McGregor (19-2) was originally scheduled to fight Rafael Dos Anjos at the March 5 event, but the lightweight champion was forced out of the out after breaking his foot during a sparring session.
The quick-witted Irishman is the UFC’s 145-pound featherweight champion after he knocked out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds at UFC 194 in December. He was aiming to win the 155-pound lightweight belt and become the first fighter in UFC history to hold two titles simultaneously.
Diaz (18-10) is one of the most popular fighters on the UFC roster and would be the first fighter to defeat McGregor since 2010 if he pulls off the upset. Diaz is a perennial contender in the lightweight division but his fight with McGregor is being contested at 170 pounds (welterweight) due to the short-notice nature of the matchup.
After their altercation the two men continued squabbling while filming a TV interview with FOX Sports 1.
@NateDiaz209 and @TheNotoriousMMA join #JayAndDan tonight! You won’t want to miss this! #UFC196 https://amp.twimg.com/v/70b0703b-71e5-4cad-8c32-086902f11607 …
Things get heated when @TheNotoriousMMA & @NateDiaz209 join tonight’s show! #UFC196 #JayAndDan https://amp.twimg.com/v/20a0b6ad-6369-421f-a96a-1f4f081469a2 …
Did @NateDiaz209 injure his hand after his presser with @TheNotoriousMMA? They join #JayAndDan tonight! #UFC196 https://amp.twimg.com/v/65fac55a-96fa-4f0b-bb9f-24c0f2495c1e …