After three rounds of intense action between two of MMA’s most popular fighters, it was a New York State Athletic Commission doctor who decided who would be the UFC’s “BMF.”
Jorge Masvidal earned a TKO victory after three rounds over Nate Diaz, winning after a doctor ruled a cut near Diaz’s right eye to be too much to continue in the main event at UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
Masvidal had Diaz hurt various times through the three-round bout but couldn’t find the finishing strike.
“I’m not the [expletive] doctor, don’t be booing me,” said Masvidal to an upset crowd.
Masvidal said immediately after the fight that he would like a rematch with Diaz, but UFC president Dana White said that idea didn't interest him.
Said Diaz, “I didn’t think they would stop it, I was just ready to get started.”
After Masvidal playfully faked throwing the same knee he used to knock out Ben Askren in UFC-record time to open this fight, Diaz seemed to settle into the fight along the cage. But Masvidal soon had Diaz hurt with a few punches. He landed a left elbow at close range that established the cut on Diaz and then followed with a heavy head kick as Diaz was falling to the canvas. Diaz stayed on his back, trying to draw Masvidal into a grappling battle, but Masvidal wouldn’t leave his feet and hit Diaz with several heavy punches while standing above Diaz.
Eventually, Masvidal backed off and Diaz rose to his feet, again engaging Masvidal along the cage. Diaz stunned Masvidal briefly with a combination, but Masvidal worked his way out of the position. With blood streaming from his right eye, Diaz pushed forward, backing Masvidal into the cage and landing a heavy punch as the round came to an end.
The pair traded combinations early in the second round with Diaz again walking down Masvidal. But with 3:30 left in the round, Masvidal stumbled Diaz with a big right hand, again allowing the Californian back to his feet. Masvidal connected with a handful of multi-strike combinations against the cage, eventually throwing Diaz to the canvas and taking his back. Diaz grabbed a leg and rolled out of the position, soon holding onto Masvidal while looking for a leg lock, but couldn’t find a submission before the end of the round.
Diaz looked refreshed in the third, catching Masvidal a bit off guard early in the round. But Masvidal soon was walking down Diaz once more, landing a heavy body kick that caused Diaz to take a step back. The pair traded a series of punches midway through the round, but neither could be dropped. In the final minute, Masvidal got Diaz to the canvas and had Diaz in some bad spots, but the horn sounded before the job could be finished.
Ahead of the start of the fourth round, a NYSAC doctor entered the cage and checked the worsening cut near Diaz’s eye. After a brief chat with Diaz, the doctor spoke with referee Dan Miragliatta, who then waved off the fight from continuing.
“I think I had a nonstop fight camp, I think I could’ve used a little more time, my eye was already [expletive] from my last fight," Diaz said. "Anyway, you sneeze on me I bleed, but blood don’t hurt.”
Dwyane "The Rock" Johnson presented the belt as the "baddest" fighter in the game to Masvidal.