November 1, 2019

UFC 244: The BMF Title Fight Is A Win For Everyone Involved (And An Example To Those Who Aren't)

By Raphael Garcia

UFC 244 is less than 24 hours away, and the excitement for this event is palpable. As it should be -- this card showcases two of the biggest stars the UFC has seen in recent memory: Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz. These two fighters have a legion of fans because of their actions in the Octagon and their personalities outside of it. These two men called their own shot, forced the UFC’s hand, and built a card around an imaginary title in the "BMF Championship," with a belt to boot. It’s almost like this main event is a situation where everyone wins. But is it? Let's dive deeper.

Back at UFC 241 this past August, Diaz stood in the middle of the cage after putting away Anthony Pettis and turned toward the crowd. With all eyes on him, he calmly called out Masvidal, who a few weeks earlier at UFC 239 needed just five seconds to ice Ben Askren. Fans responded with cheers at the idea of a fight between them, and the MMA media frothed at the mouth alongside them. There’s nothing to dislike about this fight. The anticipation is worthy of an MSG pay-per-view main event.

But returning to the question about who stands to win on Saturday night, let’s start with the fans. The answer to this aspect is very simple: YES! Mixed martial arts fans are the true winners this weekend. Often the UFC struggles to put together the fights that people want to see. Think back across UFC history and you'll recall several fights that have fallen through, for one reason or another. But this time, the UFC saw two emerging superstars in Masvidal and Diaz and made sure to get this fight made. The fans are getting a fight that they want to see with two men that are going to deliver in the Octagon. There’s no other way to answer the question of whether the fans stand to win other than in the affirmative.

And what about the UFC? They are also winning with this main event. First, this bout keeps Diaz and Masvidal active and exposed. Both men are bigger draws than the current champion, Kamaru Usman, and the number one contender, Colby Covington. The UFC struggled to get their title fight booked, but finally got it together as a part of the UFC 245 supercard. But on its own, Diaz vs. Masvidal is a bout with more cachet that doesn’t hold up the welterweight division. Also, this fight helps build a narrative for another potential draw in the organization, Conor McGregor. Both Diaz and Masvidal have dropped hints about a potential fight against the Irishman. The winner coming out of UFC 244 will probably be the biggest active name on the roster. Him, McGregor, and the UFC most of all would have large dollar signs in their sights if that fight could be booked -– yet another reason this contest would be a win.

But after the fans, Saturday night's competitors, Conor McGregor, and the UFC brass, that brings us to the rest of the fighters on the UFC roster. In some ways, the introduction of the purely promotion-based BMF title can be looked at as a win. It proves that if fighters can garner enough of a fan following, they can leverage their way into opportunities that even winning championship fights may not afford them. The UFC has consistently found ways to take power away from the fighters, so to see two fighters campaign their way to not only a PPV main event, but the creation of a vanity title with "baddest motherf--er" emblazoned on it, that's incredible, and it stands out as an example of the type of prizes fighters can garner if they take control of the show, and call their own shots with regards to big time fights. But unfortunately, it’s hard to see any other fighters on the roster rising to such heights. Just this past week, Diaz was able to flex his promotional muscle and force both the UFC and USADA to exonerate him after a positive test result. Can you imagine any other fighter having that clout in the near future? It's very hard to envision.

The UFC 244 main event perfectly encapsulates the wild excitement and fun that can come from mixed martial arts. The stars aligned, allowing two top-tier talents and personalities to seize the narrative for themselves and create a matchup with a wholly unique kind of pomp and circumstance, one completely different from the sort that usually surrounds an event. It seems like everyone involved in this bout is winning in one way or another. But it's the contrast between the fortunes of Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal and those of the rest of the UFC roster that serves as a stark reminder of how much fighters stand to gain from doing what they did. You can be a good soldier, or you can be a Bad MF'er, and this weekend demonstrates the difference between the two.

UFC 244
Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal

UFC 244: Masvidal vs. Diaz takes place November 2, 2019 at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York.

Click HERE for more UFC 244 Pre-Fight Analysis


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