Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is a better place when Nick and Nate Diaz are competing.
While both have come up short in their respective bids to claim a division title, their fan-friendly fight style and ability to generate hype gives the mixed martial arts (MMA) community something to talk about. And behind all the 209 posturing, they're legitimate toughies.
Which is why this situation is "sad."
That's according to UFC President Dana White, who despite his back-and-forth with the Diaz bros. (and their representatives), still likes the Stockton siblings, but also recognizes he can't force grown men to fight. They either want to get into the cage, or they don't.
White elaborates during the UFC Fight Night 40 post-fight media scrum (watch it here):
"Nick is retired. We keep offering Nate fights, and he turns them down. Nate, by not responding, thinks he's not turning them down but by not responding, he is turning them down. That's not really how it works. It's not frustrating for me at all. If the Diaz brothers don't ever want to fight again, that's up to them. They're fun to watch. I know people like to watch them. But you can't make grown men fight. They either want to fight or they don't. The thing that's sad about it: I like them. And I used to have a really good relationship with Nate, but fighting or any other sport, it isn't a profession. It isn't a job. It's an opportunity. It's an opportunity to make money. It's an opportunity to achieve great things in a short window of time. And if they want to sit out their window of time, for the rest of their career, that's up to them ... the world moves on, man. Nate Diaz just signed a new deal and he won one fight out of his last three fights and wants more money and wants a title shot and wants this and wants that. That's really not the way it works. We're just sitting here tonight talking about how Matt Brown has won seven fights in a row. Matt Brown doesn't have a title shot yet. Nate Diaz is far from seven in a row."
Diaz is far from anything if he's sitting on his couch complaining about pay.
Despite a technical knockout win over fading lightweight Gray Maynard last November, Diaz (17-9) has been unable to gain any sort of momentum in his last couple of fights. He was knocked around by Ben Henderson in late 2012, then followed that up with a high-profile loss to Josh Thomson on FOX.
He then signed a new, eight-fight deal, but claims he was "conned" by the promotion and demanded his unconditional release. Well, he got one, but not from his contract. Instead, he was erased from the official UFC rankings due to "inactivity."
Something that doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon.