Nate Diaz turns tables on Jake Paul after security team melee: ‘That’s a bad influence’

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Nate Diaz had in his hand a water bottle, and for a second, it looked like it might be thrown at a Jake Paul sympathizer who promised to relish his knockout loss.

Diaz held on to the bottle — he is, after all, a co-promoter of Saturday’s boxing match with Paul. But he briefly lost his temper, to the delight of Paul.

The influencer-turned-boxer’s mission was to agitate Diaz, and after a half-hour of poking the bear, he finally got a response.

Moments later, it wasn’t Diaz and Paul who tussled onstage at the press conference faceoff, but their respective security teams. After a brief melee, the ruckus was broken up, and Diaz reacted to the incident on the DAZN press conference feed.

According to people close to Diaz, who spoke to MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin on the condition of anonymity after the press conference, the altercation started due a member of Paul’s security team, who the ex-UFC fighter singled out on stage following a past altercation. The Paul security team member began pushing and shoving after the initial faceoff. It was that incident that apparently led to punches being thrown before the two sides were separated.

Later, Diaz took the incident in stride.

“Nah, it don’t matter,” he said on DAZN. “Whatever happens, happens, but it usually could go better or worse, so it’s all good.”

Considering the history of Diaz brawls outside the cage, he was right. No one appeared to get seriously hurt, police weren’t called, and no one got arrested. But it didn’t escape Diaz that Paul was the one trying verbally to provoke a fight.

“That’s what I’m saying about he keeps calling me the bad guy and the bully and s***,” Diaz said. “He’s a bully. He’s the one that said they started the term influencer, right?”

Paul has used Diaz’s past with out-of-cage fights — including a recent brawl on Bourbon Street in New Orelans that left a Logan Paul lookalike bloodied and unconscious — as fodder to promote their fight.

But the way Diaz sees it, Paul is just as guilty as the guy Paul is accusing of being a bully. Exhibit No. 1 is the employee of Betr, an online sportsbook in which Paul is invested, who posed as a media member and challenged Diaz’s older brother, Nick Diaz, to a fight at a press conference.

The employee appeared again on Thursday, and this time, he apologized for his challenge and implored Diaz’s team not to beat him up. But when Diaz didn’t respond, he said, “I can’t wait to watch Jake knock you the f*** out.”

“You’re influencing people to do anything for clout, like that s***,” Diaz said. “You’re out here just acting out. If I’m sitting in the room with him the other day, he’s just chilling. Get up here, and he’s going to act out. That’s a bad influence.

“It’s crazy when he talks a bunch of s***, too. I’m like, we’re just participating in a boxing match. It’s a limited form of fighting, so I’m like, there’s no need to get disrespectful and talk a bunch of s***. I’m a competitor here. [Paul is] a little f*****, and that’s what I’m dealing with and that’s what I’m going to deal with, and whatever comes when I sign up for this from the start, full-blown war, I’m good with it.”

For Paul, it’s mission accomplished. Diaz has no-sold much of his prodding, but he finally got a response.

“Man, I’m deep in his head,” he said during the DAZN weigh-in show after Diaz’s appearance. “I’m having a picnic in his head, and man, I hurt his feelings. In his head, he basically got all pissed off. The security teams started fighting. His security swung first, my security hit him with a check hook, and that was that. … This is what I do. I love to get in people’s head, get them all riled up.”

MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin contributed to this report.

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