Conor McGregor sure is a trendsetter. After spending much of 2016 setting up his own superfights, it’s hard to find a UFC fighter who isn’t trying to emulate McGregor by calling their own matchmaking shots. And now it looks like his decision to apply for boxing licenses in the United States is attracting attention from other UFC athletes as well. According to ESPN, Nate Diaz just applied for one in Nevada, and it’s probably going to be granted.
What’s the deal with all these MMA fighters getting boxing licenses, anyways? Even UFC president Dana White claims he’s confused as to why McGregor did it. But some suspect it has something to do with gaining the protections afforded to boxers under the federal Muhammad Ali Act, which may invalidate some of the UFC’s more restrictive contractual clauses. Adding fuel to the speculation that this is more than just a random act from Nate, the Diaz brother actually paid off his $50,000 bottle tossing fine in order to apply for his license.
Could Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz be planning to have their third fight in a boxing ring rather than a cage? With their last two fights pulling over a million pay-per-view buys each, they may feel like they don’t need the UFC promoting things and taking over half the money made off the fight. The UFC would obviously fight this in court, but again: the Muhammad Ali Act makes it much more likely that Diaz and McGregor would actually win any legal battle.
With McGregor reportedly making over $10 million per MMA fight, he’s got a bigger reason not to go to war with the company he makes the bulk of his cash through. But for Diaz, any decent fight in boxing would guarantee him several times more than he’s making per UFC fight, so he doesn’t even need to involve McGregor to make this worth his while.
The Diaz brothers are also infamous for sticking it to The Man, so it wouldn’t be all that out of character for Nate to set his bridges with the UFC on fire chasing a couple of huge boxing paydays. We’ll let you know what he says or does in the coming weeks. The results could reverberate through mixed martial arts for years to come.