Following his two fight series with Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz took his rightful place up at the top of the MMA legends pantheon. He’s always been a hit with fans of the sport, but his gutsy performances against McGregor made him a mainstream star. They also earned him millions of dollars, so now he’s not feeling particularly eager to step back into the Octagon for what he considers less than fair pay.
Diaz explained his position on a special episode of The MMA Hour, revealing that he planned to spend 2017 away from the cage to concentrate on triathlons … unless the UFC was willing to pony up. Something they apparently weren’t willing to do when they asked him to headline the big UFC 213 event on July 9th against Tony Ferguson for an interim lightweight belt.
“I gladly accepted … and then it was glady rejected,” Nate said. “Because of circumstances. I was like yeah sure I’ll fight him, but under these circumstances. And then I was ignored.”
If you’re getting the feeling that relations between Diaz and the UFC are strained, you’re not wrong. Nick has already accused the promotion of trying to get them replaced for major promotional opportunities, and now Nate is claiming the UFC has been using shady loopholes to keep him under contract, like when they offered him a fight against Eddie Alvarez a few months back.
“I just laughed at them and said get the fuck outta here, call me with some real shit,” he said. “And that shit went … they put out that I was turning down fights, and the next day I got a message, an email, saying that my contract has been extended six months. You guys just offered me a fight you knew I wouldn’t take so you could extend my contract cuz it’s almost up!”
“It was almost up right there. I don’t know if I got a year or six months or what I got. I don’t know because they’re extending it and fighting it and double extending it, I don’t know what the deal is. I don’t want to get into the contract, I don’t know.”
Diaz was pretty unapologetic regarding his take it or leave it stance on how much he expected to get paid. As far as he’s concerned, he has enough money now and continues to make good money through paid appearances.
“Of course my objective is to be a free agent for a long time, but that’s not my plan right now,” he said. “I’m content right now. There’s a lot of business going on right now, and it’s non-stop and overwhelming. So I don’t need to fight, so if I’m going to fight, I need to be compensated, the numbers are right, or because someone makes me want to fight.”
At this point it seems pretty clear that the UFC isn’t very willing to meet the dollar amount Diaz is holding out for. But don’t lose hope yet. The promotion had a similar problem opening their wallets to bring Georges St-Pierre back, but eventually a deal ended up getting made. UFC 213 is a major event for the promotion that caps off International Fight Week in Las Vegas. The promotion needs a top level fight and only has so many stars that will satisfy that requirement … two of them being the Diaz brothers.