If the stakes weren’t already high enough for UFC 244’s “BMF” title between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson inserted himself into the mix and upped the ante even higher. The former WWE superstar-turned-actor has a soft spot for toughness and grit, drawing him to the Diaz-Masvidal showdown.
The Rock has some history with Diaz’s former adversary, Conor McGregor. The actor has repeatedly posted to social media in support of the ‘Champ-Champ’ and clearly has his finger on the pulse of the MMA world. UFC 244 takes place Saturday, November 2 at 10 p.m. ET at Madison Square Garden. It will air as a pay-per-view on ESPN+.
Why Is The Rock Presenting the ‘BMF’ Belt to the Diaz-Masvidal Winner?
In a strange twist, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson got himself involved in the fight via Twitter and will be presenting the belt to the winner of Diaz-Masvidal. This is extremely uncommon as typically UFC President Dana White presents the champion with a belt following the fight.
The Rock got involved on Twitter after Masvidal asked him to put the belt around his waist – to which The Rock agreed. White seemed more than willing to accommodate The Rock, telling TMZ “Listen, if The Rock wants to do it, The Rock gets what The Rock wants. Done.”
Just days prior to UFC 244, The Rock took to Instagram to send a message about both the fight card and also the ‘BMF Belt.’
It’s obvious how passionate The Rock is both about Madison Square Garden, the upcoming UFC fights and also the fact that he’ll be handing out the unique belt.
One of the biggest celebrities on the planet, The Rock should only bring more of a spotlight to one of the UFC’s most highly-anticipated matchups in recent memory.
What Is the ‘BMF’ Belt?
The “BMF” belt is a special one-off title belt commissioned by the UFC specifically for the Diaz-Masvidal fight. Standing for the Baddest Mother****** Belt, the honor is a nod to the notoriously tough attitudes that both Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal routinely bring to the table. In 78 combined career fights, the two men have been finished only three times.
UFC President Dana White enlisted another notorious UFC tough guy in former ‘Champ-Champ’ Conor McGregor to help design the belt – at least according to McGregor. McGregor would go on to publicly call himself the real ‘Bad Mother******’ and mention that the winner of the fight would undoubtedly be on his radar.
Though designed to be a one-off ordeal, many fans seem to love the idea of the ‘BMF’ Belt and are calling for it to become a long-term staple for the promotion.
The Fight for the ‘BMF’ Belt Almost Didn’t Happen
Despite the massive hype leading up to the fight, things almost didn’t end up coming to fruition. Nate Diaz was informed prior to the fight that USADA had found elevated levels of a banned substance in his system. Diaz was infuriated that his name would even be brought up for something along the lines of a performance-enhancing drug and threatened to walk away from the fight altogether.
Ultimately, both the UFC and USADA came forward with statements clearing Diaz’s name of any wrongdoing as following investigations, it was determined that Diaz’s vegan multi-vitamin had been contaminated and he had unknowingly ingested the substance. Furthermore, the amount in his system was thousands of times below a normal therapeutic dosage and it was determined that it could have no effect on his performance in the fight.
Here Are Some of Nate Diaz’s Memorable Battles
Nate Diaz earned his “BMF” reputation over the years as being one of the UFC’s toughest fighters to finish. However, a few fights, in particular, stand out among the rest as defining moments in his career.
Overshadowed in his early years by his older brother and fellow UFC bad-boy Nick, Nate vaulted himself into the spotlight on the back of a fight of the night performance against noted tough guy Donald Cerrone in 2011. Diaz, previously more known for his slick grappling skills, went toe to toe with the dangerous Cerrone on the feet and came away with an impressive decision win in a thrilling three-round war. Nate would parlay this strong performance (along with a subsequent win over Jim Miller) into his only title shot – a loss to Benson Henderson at 155 pounds.
Nate took his stardom up to the next level with his pair of epic wars in 2016 with UFC mega-star Conor McGregor. Stepping in as a late replacement for Rafael dos Anjos with only 11 days to prepare, Diaz weathered a brutal early storm from McGregor before choking him out in the second round. The two would do battle again in an immediate rematch. An epic five-round war that saw McGregor edge out a decision win, Diaz saw his stock continue to rise and became a household name. What stands out most from these fights is how Diaz was repeatedly able to wear McGregor’s best shots and keep coming forward. McGregor had previously made a name for himself by putting any and everyone at 145 and 155 pounds to sleep.
Here Are Some of Jorge Masvidal Memorable Battles
While Nate Diaz may be the more marketable fighter, Jorge Masvidal isn’t nicknamed ‘Gamebred’ for nothing. One of the toughest fighters on the UFC’s roster, Masvidal has faced a who’s who of elite lightweight and welterweight fighters over the years. A professional since 2003 with 47 fights to his name, Masvidal brings heaps of veteran experience to the table.
After making a name for himself in Bellator and Strikeforce, Masvidal made the jump to the UFC in 2013 and showed off his patented toughness in his second fight against Michael Chiesa. After being dropped by the hard-hitting Chiesa in the first round, Masvidal recovered and wound up catching Chiesa with a buzzer-beating D’Arce choke in the second round.
Masvidal would pull off a similar feat earlier this year in his highly anticipated matchup with Darren Till. Coming off a string of vicious knockouts and a title shot against Tyronn Woodley, Till was widely considered one of, if not the most dangerous striker at 170 pounds. After being put down in the first round and eating a number of what looked to be fight-ending shots, Masvidal would go on to rally and finished Till with a series of vicious hooks in the second round. Seemingly at his most dangerous with his back up against the wall, Masvidal is a fighter many contenders try to avoid given how tough he is to put away.