Little more than two years ago, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) "conned" Nate Diaz into inking an eight-fight contract, paying him "chump change" despite numerous "Fight of the Night" bonuses, main event slots and, of course, years of uninterrupted entertaining service. In fact, as recently as eight months ago his outspoken older brother, Nick Diaz, admitted that UFC's pay scale made him "sick."
Then, in March of this year, then-Lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos withdrew from a high-profile fight against Conor McGregor at UFC 196. And company officials knew to plug-in Diaz, a no-nonsense, game fighter who would put up stiff resistance -- and be willing to get "murked" -- despite just 10 days notice coming off a tequila bender.
Diaz, though, flipped the script thanks to a second round submission. In the process, he was able to finally gain leverage at the negotiating table after grinding his way to the top of the sport for more than one decade. In fact, he was able to "turn the tables" when McGregor -- who embarrassed Diaz on CNBC when it came to his career earnings -- requested an immediate rematch.
"I didn’t even think about money until like five years ago and I was like, ‘Damn! I’ve been fighting for eight years and I don’t have much to show for it except a bunch of scars on my face,’ Diaz explained to ESPN's Brett Okamoto during a recent ride along through Stockton. "At first I flipped out, I was like, ‘There is money being made here!’ I started looking at numbers and I was like, ‘WHOA! You guys are making this much?!?!’ I just have to get paid."
Diaz -- who returns to the Octagon this Saturday night to fight the Irishman in the pay-per-view (PPV) main event of UFC 202 -- now has the opportunity to make very lucrative history ... again. Sure, McGregor is a proven trash-talking draw at the box office -- perhaps the most bankable star on UFC's roster today -- but Diaz has shown, too, that he can help move a needle.
"If anyone doesn’t see what I have done and doesn’t think it’s brilliant, then they just don’t like the way I look, or don’t like the way I fight or don’t like the way I talk. But, guess what? That’s what fucking sells … what do you do?"