During a nearly 90 minute long interview on the MMA Hour, Nate Diaz made one thing clear: the UFC wasn't willing the pay enough to get him back into the cage, so he was planning on taking 2017 off. Later that day, UFC president Dana White speculated to the press on whether Nate would ever fight again. A frustrating thing to hear, considering he controls the purse strings to make it happen. And in a new interview with Yahoo! Sports, White went further into the Nate situation, questioning what the popular fighter is worth without Conor McGregor as an opponent.
“Whatever his deal is, he’s got a pretty good deal,” White said of the money Diaz stood to make from a Ferguson bout. “I mean, listen, at the end of the day, what is Diaz worth without Conor McGregor? I don’t know. The kid isn’t in a position for pay-per-view or any of that type of [stuff]. But this [a fight with Ferguson] could put him in a position. If he fought Tony Ferguson, it would be for the interim title.
“Obviously, if you held the interim title, you would get a piece of the pay-per-view. Diaz has to put himself in a position to make the pay-per-view money.”
Jeez, the way Dana is talking, you'd think Nate's two fights against McGregor were on the lower end of the sales spectrum, and not, oh, the two biggest pay-per-views in the history of mixed martial arts. We're sure Nate got paid well for those, especially the second fight. But when you consider UFC 196 and UFC 202 sold over 3 million PPVs for around $180 million dollars, doesn't it seem a little penny pinching to question Nate's drawing power? Especially when the UFC obviously wants to stick him in the headline position on their big tentpole UFC 213 card?
It's worth noting here that I don't think Nate Diaz is the reasonable one in all this, either. Based on his MMA Hour interview he sounds unreasonable, demanding, paranoid, and bitter (although considering some of the shenanigans the UFC has pulled with him like not letting him into UFC 205, I'm not surprised).
That being said, the UFC is once again having an issue admitting when one of their popular fighters has become a star, and we suspect it has a lot to do with opening their wallet and paying what a star who can move the needle is worth. If they weren't so damn unwilling to do that, perhaps the Diaz brothers wouldn't have to dig in and be such dicks about everything.
All we're saying is there's a nice big middle ground the two parties could meet in. A place they're obviously nowhere close to being at this point, given their recent comments.