Conor McGregor on the Nate Diaz press conference: It was handbags

Primetime news broadcasts busily squawked about the smoke clearing over Las Vegas as Wednesday turned to Thursday, writes Joe Callaghan.

Conor McGregor on the Nate Diaz press conference: It was handbags

Primetime news broadcasts busily squawked about the smoke clearing over Las Vegas as Wednesday turned to Thursday, writes Joe Callaghan.

They were referring to an infinitely more imperative issue than two grown men lobbing bottles of water at one another in public. Wildfires are raging along the California-Nevada border in the scorching heat of high summer in the desert. The winds brought brief relief to the Las Vegas airspace at least on Wednesday night.

But for Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz the airspace had also apparently cleared. The brief skirmish in the skies between the headline acts of UFC 202 in a theatre at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Wednesday, when both fighters' camps had lobbed plastic bottles and cans at one another at an abruptly cancelled press conference, was not either man's finest 15 seconds.

But in combat sports, and particularly the UFC, there is so rarely anything that ranks as bad publicity.

Wednesday's truly infantile eruption between the McGregor and Diaz entourages was immediately recorded in some sectors of the MMA community as "exactly what UFC 202 needed". Press conference projectiles - they're apparently the future.

For his part, McGregor facing into his fourth Las Vegas fight in a little over a year but also returning to the UFC octagon on the back of a loss for the first time, brushed off the Battle of David Copperfield Theatre.

"It was handbags," he insisted. "If they want to fight, let’s fight. I just saw bottles being thrown. I was like, ‘Right, f*** that. You want to start throwing bottles, I’ll throw cans’. But it was all in self-defence."

The yet to be fully tapped self-defence-by-airborne-energy-drink market has apparently had its breakout moment here in Vegas then. The skirmish came about after McGregor had again turned up way too late for a UFC obligation, much to Dana White's consternation.

Diaz, who had held the fort for over 20 minutes fielding questions on Saturday night's rematch, was apparently irked by his rival's tardiness.

McGregor had begun answering the second question thrown his way about the potential effects of a second defeat to Diaz in the space of six months.

"We're confident in what we've been doing here," he said. "We're prepared. Let him bring his full camp. I can't wait to see it. Bring the whole of Stockton. I'm ready for whatever he has to bring."

Diaz had felt he'd brought enough for more than one day and, closely followed by elder brother Nick, walked out shouting obscenities before he apparently threw the first bottle in anger and then all hell briefly broke loose.

"I was scared for my life,” McGregor said, with tongue firmly in cheek, before getting serious as the Nevada Athletic Commission confirmed they were looking into things. “I just hope everything is left. I hope I don’t hear about it. That’s what I’m thinking. We’re ready to fight. We’re prepared to fight.”

McGregor, guilty of hurling what looked to be two full aluminium cans up at his opponent's swelled posse, was asked if anyone in his own entourage had been hurt from the wave of bottles that came the other way.

“I’m good," he said in a brief interview with the LA Times. "I have a fight on Saturday night. I get to punch him in the face on Saturday so I’m happy with that.”

The fighters will come into close confines again Thursday afternoon local time, late night Irish time for a public workout. A fight card that did indeed badly need some semblance of a kick now has one. The Las Vegas air is about to be filled all over again.

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