It’s been a rough start of the year for the UFC as both their UFC 221 and UFC 222 pay-per-views have suffered main event losses. 221 was originally set to feature Australian middleweight champ Robert Whittaker fighting in his home country. He suffered a staph infection in his colon (dear lord) and now Luke Rockhold vs. Yoel Romero will fight for an interim title. 222 had a featherweight title fight between champ Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar. But after a leg injury to Holloway, the card is floating in limbo.
March 3rd’s UFC 222 wasn’t a very strong card to begin with, featuring Andrei Arlovski vs. Stefan Struve in the co-main and CB Dolloway vs. Hector Lombard as they only other biggish names. The UFC hates cancelling events no matter how bad things get, but after the loss of Holloway vs. Edgar, many are wondering whether they’ll have to pull the plug on this one. A replacement bantamweight title fight between champ TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt was shot down by TJ, leaving the UFC with few other options.
Until a wild Nate Diaz appeared …
According to the LA Times’ Lance Pugmire, Nate Diaz is ‘100% interested’ in stepping into the main event slot at UFC 222 to save the card. Unfortunately for the UFC, Nate has proven difficult to wrangle back into the cage since his two big money fights with Conor McGregor in 2016. He took 2017 off, refusing all bouts because the pay was too low. Now he’s back to training and ready to fight … if the price is right.
How much would it cost the UFC? Nate has previously thrown around a $15 million dollar number, which is pretty much a guaranteed non-starter for the UFC. But surely the promotion and one of their biggest stars can meet somewhere at a reasonable number and save this card? Another source close to Nate says the Diaz brother isn’t hurting for cash, he’s just “bored.” It all sounds like the perfect opportunity for both sides to get a deal done and give fans something to get excited about.