The tension of UFC 281 proved too much for some as Nate Diaz slapped Conor McGregor’s teammate Dillon Danis outside Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
With fans watching on, the 37-year-old struck Danis with the palm of his right hand after the pair engaged in a war of words.
McGregor’s manager Audie Attar was forced to step in and separate the fighters.
Nate Diaz long-term rivalry with Conor McGregor and his team
Diaz is a long-time rival of McGregor, with the pair facing off on two occasions in 2016.
In their first meeting at UFC 196, the American came out the victor, winning via submission. But the Irishman banished his demons in the rematch, unsurprisingly leading to rumours of a decider to complete what would be a famous trilogy.
Footage of the Danis-Diaz incident starts out with Attar speaking with Diaz, each surrounded by a large group of people. Although difficult to make out the specifics of the conversation, everything seems rather civil.
Scenes outside UFC 281 get heated
However, the interaction becomes more heated when jiu-jitsu specialist Danis wades in, appearing to taunt the Stockton Brawler, who eventually slaps the 29-year-old, per the Sun.
Danis is 2-0 in MMA and hasn’t fought since 2019. He took to social media to land a blow of his own, saying: “Ask Nate Diaz how that smack tastes.”
It is not the first time Diaz has slapped someone outside the Octagon publicly.
Only two weeks ago, he slapped a member of Jake Paul’s entourage. The YouTuber was fighting Anderson Silva at the Desert Diamond Arena in Arizona when the altercation took place.
Video: Nate Diaz slaps Dillion Danis
Nate Diaz slaps Dillion danis outside Madison square garden after #ufc281 pic.twitter.com/6pUHZQG1fJ
— Noooodles (@nooulez) November 13, 2022
Once again, the melee was captured on camera and showed opposing groups engaging in a verbal back-and-forth before Diaz lunged to slap a bald, tattooed man sporting a Jake Paul T-shirt.
The incident led to Paul calling out Diaz for a future match-up.
The American has been a free agent since submitting Tony Ferguson in September to round off his UFC contract.
With more and more ex-UFC fighters succumbing to Jake Paul in the ring, the contest would by no means be a foregone conclusion. In fact, Michael Bisping has backed Paul to come out on top if the pair do meet.
Bisping said: “The majority of Nate Diaz’s fights have happened at 155(lbs), he was a lightweight.
“Nate Diaz was a tremendous mixed martial artist. He beat some phenomenal people and had a tremendous career, you know he lost some fights and won a lot of fights.
“If he was to fight Jake Paul and at that weight; 200lbs, 196lbs whatever they want to come in at – I don’t think it would go very well for Nate Diaz.”