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These days, UFC events always generate hype, but UFC 244’s headlining bout between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz was on another level. Although it wasn’t a title fight, the UFC pushed the welterweight match as a showdown for the title of “BMF”—baddest motherfucker—complete with a custom belt for the victor. Masvidal earned the distinction, with a ringside doctor stopping the fight unexpectedly after round three due to a cut above Diaz’s eye.
It wasn’t the ending either Masvidal or Diaz—or the crowd—had hoped for. Both fighters expressed interest in a rematch in their post-fight interviews, but the win makes Masvidal the baddest in the game for now. And as if that weren’t enough, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson brought the belt into the Octagon and later placed it on Masvidal.
Needless to say, the crowd went wild for the most electrifying man in sports entertainment.
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Goosebumps. My big ass smile is real, cos I feed off energy and this @ufc crowd BLEW THE ROOF off Madison Square Garden and embraced me as one of their own. And when I raised this BMF Title up high – the fans took the electricity to ANOTHER LEVEL. Insane. Thank you @danawhite, @ufc, all the fighters, coaches and especially the MMA fans for allowing me the honor to be part of your world. All love. All respect. See you down the road. Rock – People’s Champ #UFC244 #BMFTitle #MasvidalDiaz
Diaz and Masvidal have feuded over who the baddest motherfucker in the game is since the former defeated Anthony Pettis at UFC 241 and issued a challenge to the South Florida native. Once the fight was booked, White promised that the winner would receive the BMF belt. Masvidal asked his fellow Floridian, The Rock, to put the belt on the victor.
Sure enough, The Rock announced his involvement in the event last week, and fans couldn’t wait to see him step into the cage on Saturday to put the BMF belt on the winner. He confirmed the news and had some kind words for the UFC in an Instagram video with UFC President Dana White.
“This addition to the company and the brand and to the sport, this BMF belt, I think it’s brilliant,” Johnson says in the video. “I think it’s so smart and I think it’s just fun, man.”
Johnson would not say who he thought would win at Madison Square Garden ahead of the fight. “Especially at this level where you have two guys who are so skilled and respected,” The Rock says. “I just want a great fight between the two guys…I got too much respect for those guys…to say ‘Oh, well this guy is going to win or that guy is going to win.’ I just want to see a great fight.”
You can watch Johnson’s chat with White here:
The Rock also attended the pre-fight press conference on Friday, where he announced that he’ll be producing and starring in a movie about retired MMA fighter Mark Kerr.
“Mark Kerr’s story is such an incredible story. Here’s a guy who won the two-time heavyweight tournament in the early stages of UFC, and here’s a guy who went over to PRIDE. He had this incredible run, as many of these warriors have, and I wanted to shine a spotlight on this man,” Johnson explained during the conference. “Here’s a guy who has gone through it all and hit rock bottom, but the best part about Mark Kerr…is every day you get up and you want to do a little better tomorrow than you did today.”
The Rock isn’t one to half commit to an idea, so we’re sure his tribute to the retired fighter will be everything MMA fans would hope for. And although he has no plans to compete, we doubt this will be the last we see of him in the MMA world.