UFC 244 was full of storylines, but it may not have provided what viewers were wanting after all. The weekend kicked off with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson showing up to the weigh-ins with the BMF belt on his shoulder to represent a main event that was between two of the toughest fighters that the UFC has ever seen.
The disappointment, however, was much due to this particular notion. The fight marketed to be between two of the toughest fighters in the world was stopped after the third round of a five-round fight due to a large cut above the right eye of Nate Diaz.
Most cards and analysts had Jorge Masvidal winning the fight before the stoppage, and it seemed as though he would have gone on to win the fight, but the overall look of marketing a tough guy fight that results in a doctor’s stoppage is not going to sit well with some fans.
Diaz said after the fight that the doctor “played him” and that he was “just getting started.” As mentioned above, this would be generally argued by most analysts, but it is still bad publicity for the UFC.
After the fight, Dana White said that he agreed with the doctor’s stoppage and that he was not interested in a rematch at this point. This stance by White is good for the doctor to ease frustrations, but everyone has their opinion, and just because White says it was good will not ease frustrations.
However, White likely isn’t just saying this because it is his promotion, as he has been very outspoken against bad stoppages in the UFC all the time and rarely holds back.
On Monday, the doctor, Dr. Nitin K. Sethi, expressed concerns about the amount of backlash that he has received online based on the stoppage. Sethi said that he made the call based on the cuts and the way that the fight was going. Sethi was aware of Diaz’s never-give-up attitude and understood that he might have put himself in danger because of that mentality.
Dr. Sethi said that with the cut and the way that Diaz was being beat around in the third round, he could not guarantee the safety of the fighter moving forward, which is his job. I think that it is hard to argue that this is objectively false. However, being upset with the stoppage due to the concept of the BMF belt and all is understandable.
Trump Attends UFC 244
There was also a lot of attention around President Donald Trump’s arrival to Madison Square Garden and the reactions, as there always is, with multiple tweets featuring videos of boos and other videos filled with cheers. This was the first UFC event attended by a president, and it was also interesting that the president sat ringside, instead of further away.
This appearance also elicited a lot of comments out of the fighters featured on Saturday night. Noted Trump supporter, Colby Covington, was found wearing a MAGA hat and reading a new book written by Donald Trump Jr. Jorge Masvidal voiced his appreciation for Trump attending the fight both before and after.
While the media coverage of Trump’s appearance was all over the map, it did bring the UFC into the spotlight just a bit more this weekend, which is always good, even with an anti-climactic finish in the main event.