There has been a whole lot of discussion about the souring relationship between Conor McGregor and the UFC but you know what hasn’t been discussed very much? The already soured relationship between Nate Diaz and the UFC. While Dana White insists that things are super great between the UFC and the Diaz camp, the reality is that things are as bad as ever.
Don’t believe it? Check out what Nate had to say in a recent interview with Megan Olivi for UFC Fight Pass:
“So when it first got booked I was like, ‘They want to get me right back in there and try to win this back and weed me out again.’ That’s how it felt. I’m was like, ‘Can I just sit back for eight months and soak up some popularity and some exposure and just go on vacation and do what I gotta do?’ And they were like, ‘We want this’ and I’m like, ‘Why so quick? Whatever.’ Then the deals got done and I was like, ‘Wow. That payday and this payday in that short amount of time, can’t pass that up so let’s do it. But I feel like these guys want to weed me right back out, hoping that I lose. Alright, they’d better hope I lose because if I win this one, I’m really taking over.”
That’s not a great spot for the company, given how Diaz could soon be the biggest active star in the company.
So what caused all this bad blood? Why don’t the UFC and Nate Diaz get along? Money, of course!
Both Nick and Nate Diaz are fighters the UFC has always been reluctant to put at the front of the company. While you can’t necessarily blame the UFC for that, given the generally terrible behavior of Nick and the openly confrontational nature of Nate, it has also resulted in a number of instances where both men have been mistreated by the company.
Ahead of Nate’s title fight with Benson Henderson in 2012, he signed a lengthy contract extension. While it’s a common practice for the UFC to ensure a fighter is locked up for the long term ahead of the title fight (they have done it with a lot of fighters ahead of big title fights including Chad Mendes, Bethe Correia and Mark Hunt), the UFC grossly underappreciated Diaz’s drawing power, and basically threatened to take Diaz’s title shot away if he didn’t sign on the dotted line.
Because of that Nate, a pay-per-view-level fighter, was being paid like a free TV fighter. That led to an ugly contract dispute, which in turn led to Diaz sitting out for long stretches of time from 2013 to 2015. While Diaz eventually returned to the cage as a regular attraction in 2015,
While there was some speculation that a new leaf may have been turned over with Diaz’s booming popularity since UFC 196, that doesn’t seem to be the case after this interview and that makes his fight with Conor McGregor at UFC 202 even more interesting.
If Nate does win, what do they do with him? We saw the UFC absolutely bury Holly Holm the first chance they got (likely as a punishment for beating Ronda Rousey) so it’s not at all out of the question for them to do the same with Diaz. If he wins, though, he will be able to make good on his promise to start taking over the company.
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