Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter and long-time vegan Nate Diaz claimed a surprise victory Saturday, beating the featherweight champion Conor McGregor in UFC 196. A last minute alternate, the Stockton, CA native entered the fight as the underdog, with only 12 days notice before the fight after McGregor’s original opponent was forced to withdraw due to an injury. McGregor, who was undefeated in the UFC, was the insider’s favorite to win but was bested in the second round after his 12-year-vegan opponent forced him into submission. “I knew I was the superior boxer, the superior martial artist,” Diaz said. “[McGregor] punches hard. He’s a hard-hitting little guy but nothing I haven’t felt before. If you ain’t taking me out, you’re going to get taken out.” Diaz has adhered to a mostly raw diet for the past few years and eaten completely plant-based since the age of 18—something he says gives him a competitive advantage in the ring. Ironically, Ido Portal, movement practitioner and one of McGregor’s coaches, said in an interview that he believed vegans didn’t possess the same stamina and strength as meat eaters. “I can’t view vegan diets as something healthy. I’ve never met a vegan who was able to perform with the same energy levels as I see with someone with a more carnivore diet. I actually refuse to work with vegans.”
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