The world tuned in to witness the first press conference between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz, two athletes adept in the skill of trash talking. McGregor has had a familiar tactic in the run-up to his fights — get inside the opponent's head early, rattling them with outlandish claims and not giving them a second on the mic. So it was with interest that UFC/MMA fans were eager to see the brash Dubliner face Diaz in a media square-off.
Sure enough, Diaz was prepared to give as good as he got by way of insult-laden expletives.
The lightweight contender turned the tables on Mystic Mac by using the presser as a means to flip the script on the Irishman and rile him up, attempting to get inside his head. McGregor has been vocal in his abhorrence toward the use of performance enhancing drugs within the sport, in the past discrediting his opponents who were caught using them. In a move that seemed to genuinely upset McGregor, Diaz accused the featherweight champ of being on PEDs, something that McGregor genuinely did not want his name associated with.
It's easy to see why McGregor got so wound up by the accusations. These sorts of allegations carry weight for a global audience and within the fighting world. It only takes the mere suggestion of a fighter seemingly "in the know" to tarnish their reputation.
In the age of social media being the primary vehicle for news, many merely read headlines and digest the information as true. Thus, articles around the Web could carry the headline: "Nate Diaz Accuses McGregor of Steroid Use," and people would take that information as gospel. This sort of content can create rumors that spread like wildfire. MMA fans speaking to one another can throw out lines like, "Are you sure Diaz said he's on steroids?" or "Diaz is in the UFC, he obviously knows something."
Sure, the claims are more than likely, if not entirely false. I'm pretty certain the outlandish accusations are nothing more than head games and trash talk. Much like McGregor claiming that Rafael dos Anjos turned his back on his native Brazil, seeing as he opted to live in the United States.
Thankfully, a more serene version of McGregor was present to dispel the rumors post-press conference. Speaking to Fancy MMA, McGregor called the subject of weight an illusion within the world of MMA and claims that he is simply there to fight, no matter the weight or opponent.
Mystic Mac also predicted a first-round knockout via a sweet left uppercut. Although McGregor has jumped weight divisions to fight Diaz, the featherweight champ is still highly confident in his ability.
With more fireworks expected in the lead-up to UFC 196, expect more outlandish claims to hit the headlines.