Is Bellator bluffing about being in talks with Nate Diaz following the Stockton fighter’s exit from the UFC?
Bellator president Scott Coker has a long relationship with the Diaz brothers that spans back to 2009 when Coker booked Nick Diaz to face Frank Shamrock in Strikeforce. Leading up to Bellator Dublin, Coker claimed he was ‘in dialog’ with the younger Diaz brother’s team.
“We are definitely talking to him. We’ve reached out,” Coker said. “I know he’s probably talking to everybody. He’s in a pretty good situation. I know he wants to fight Jake Paul. Jake Paul is fighting Anderson Silva on Showtime pay-per-view, which is our home network, so there’s some synergies here.”
“We’re just hoping that we could have some type of deal to at least have his MMA fights with Bellator. So we are in dialogue.”
That, according to The MMA Hour host Ariel Helwani, just ain’t so.
“A note on any story about a promoter / promotion talking to Nathan Diaz right now: don’t believe it,” Helwani wrote on Twitter. “Not true. It’s actually illegal. Diaz is in an exclusive three-month negotiation period with the UFC. Meaning he can’t talk to anyone. And he hasn’t talked to anyone.”
A note on any story about a promoter/promotion talking to Nathan Diaz right now: don’t believe it. Not true. It’s actually illegal.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) September 22, 2022
Diaz is in an exclusive three-month negotiation period with the UFC. Meaning he can’t talk to anyone. And he hasn’t talked to anyone.
Helwani has been on the front lines of the Nate Diaz story for months now as the mercurial star accused the UFC of holding him ‘hostage’ and refusing to give him the last fight on his contract. It was Ariel that revealed that Nate’s UFC contract expired in early October, forcing the promotion to throw together the ill-advised Nate Diaz vs. Khamzat Chimaev match-up at UFC 279.
Is there room for all parties to be telling the truth? Well, Bellator could have reached out to Team Diaz and said they’d like to talk, and Team Diaz could have replied ‘Sure, in three months once our exclusive negotiating window with the UFC is done.’ That’s all fine, and we suppose it could be considered ‘dialog.’
Just don’t expect any world-shaking Nate Diaz announcements until he’s truly well and clear of his UFC contract at the start of 2023.