NEW YORK – As the audience cheered welterweights Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz during Thursday’s UFC 244 news conference, UFC president Dana White was asked about the absence of another set of 170-pound competitors. When Colby Covington defeated Robbie Lawler at UFC on ESPN 5 last month, all signs seemingly pointed toward a matchup with champion Kamaru Usman on Nov. 2 at UFC 244. However, when discussions with Covington (15-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) and Usman (15-1, 10-0 UFC) fizzled, the UFC decided to follow the wave of fan-driven desire for a bout between Masvidal (34-13 MMA, 11-6 UFC) and Diaz (20-11 MMA, 15-9 UFC) instead. Why exactly did the conversation among the UFC, Covington and Usman hit a wall? According to White, former interim champ Covington held out for more money, which in turn brought negotiations to a screeching halt.