In the weeks leading up to UFC 209, the promotion’s top commentator Joe Rogan questioned why the UFC passed up the opportunity to build the card around Diaz brothers Nick and Nate, who never pass up the opportunity to yell Stockton’s 209 area code into a camera. Alas, the UFC contends the Diaz brothers are notoriously difficult to deal with, and UFC 209 ended up with a co-main that was canceled at the last second and a main event that flopped on fight night.
But according to Nate Diaz, he wouldn’t be so hard to deal with if he felt like the UFC had his back. Instead, they seem to be constantly trying to push him down and screw him over. The latest incident, he claims, was the UFC trying to push him out of a job promoting the Charlie Day and Ice Cube comedy Fist Fight, offering the movie execs other stars from their roster.
“The UFC is like ‘We’re thinking GSP or Conor McGregor,’ ” Diaz told USA Today’s Martin Rogers. “My guy said ‘Don’t worry, we’re going to use Nate.’ They came back to say, ‘We really think you should use GSP or Conor.’ I don’t know what it is. I’m not a white boy with blue eyes or great looking, I talk all f**ked up. I’m not the look they’re going for, but this is fighting. You don’t go for a look. You go for the baddest that’s out there. This is an example of my whole career.”
AS for UFC 209, Nate obviously knew there was a desire amongst fans for him to compete. But the UFC’s need to not need any individual fighter too much resulted in them passing on the opportunity.
“It [would have made] so much sense,” he said. “But I wasn’t sad. I feel like the [UFC] were put off by it, like they were saying ‘We don’t need you.’ Well, that’s a big ball drop for you guys. Look at your card. They try to shut us down. With Conor, they made a star out of him. They have never done that for me. I’m still here after all the holding back I’ve been through. They’ve never put my name on a pedestal. If they had my back the whole way, I’d be like ‘UFC, all day, don’t be dissing my company like that!’ But why would I do that for a company that does this?”
Diaz isn’t exactly wrong. He’s been around for a long time, fighting for the UFC for over 10 years. He came up through The Ultimate Fighter, winning the show and going on to fight 20 more times for the UFC over the following decade. Yet his disclosed salary leading into the McGregor fights had him making a mere $40,000 per bout. When he complained about his pay, UFC president Dana Whiteclaimed Nate ‘didn’t move the needle’, despite the promotion being more than happy to use him as headliner and co-main in multiple big shows. His two fights with Conor McGregor would go on to becomethe biggest pay-per-views in the history of the UFC.
At this point, we’re not surprised Nate Diaz is only looking out for Nate Diaz. It certainly doesn’t seem like anyone else will if he doesn’t.