UFC President Dana White has continued in his response to the recent antics of the former UFC lightweight title challenger Nate Diaz by calling into question his power as a credible pay-per-view draw.
Nate Diaz managed to steal all of the headlines this week when he appeared on yet another special edition of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to give us all an update on his current standing within the UFC.
The resulting interview was one packed from top-to-bottom with hilarious one-liners, not-so-subtle digs at various top-tier fighters as well as a very obvious undercurrent of frustration that was emanating from Nate as a result of what he perceived to be a lack of respect in his direction from those in power within the UFC.
Nate ranted for just over an hour on subjects ranging from his rivalry with Conor McGregor to his current status as a UFC veteran but in one of the more eye-opening moments of the highly-entertaining exchange, Nate reflected on his treatment at the hands of the UFC and his views on the respect that has been given to him in recent times made for one of the most heated sections of the interview.
“I never got a compliment for whooping the golden child’s ass. All I did was get dissed for being the fucking 200 lb monster who fucking Conor came back with adversity and whipped my ass. I don’t think that happened, but they’re fooling everybody pretty good into believing that.
“How, all of a sudden, am I a lightweight when Dana White was spinning how I was a lightweight and praised Conor for fighting my big ass? I’m 174 right now eating as much as I want. Are you kidding me? I want a little respect from somebody over there.”
His 23 fights within the UFC makes him one of the most active fighters in the promotion’s history but in his mind, he hasn’t been afforded the level of respect he feels that he is deserving of, especially when you consider that he is only a year removed from handing the sport of MMA’s biggest star, Conor McGregor his first UFC loss at UFC 196.
His status as a ‘needle-mover’ is surely beyond doubt at this stage, though, unless you happen to be UFC president Dana White, who didn’t waste too much time in responding to this claim, telling Yahoo Sports that Nate’s drawing power without the presence of Conor McGregor is still unclear.
“Whatever his deal is, he’s got a pretty good deal. 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. But this [the Ferguson-fight] 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.”
Both Nate and Nick Diaz have found themselves at odds with the UFC in recent times and in continuing on from there, Dana voiced his own opinion on the notoriously difficult-to-manage brawlers from Stockton.
“It doesn’t frustrate me at all because I’ve learned that you can’t make people fight, man. It’s the same thing when people ask me, ‘What if this guy retires,’ or ‘What if that guy retires?’ This is a business that, your head has to be in this game. You have to want to become a world champion. You have to want to fight. You have to go through everything it takes to get into the cage. It doesn’t frustrate me at all. We’ll keep offering the Diaz brothers fights until one of them says yes or they never fight again.”
That certainly makes for pretty bleak reading if you’re a fan of Stockton’s finest and though no-one can blame Nate for understanding his worth and the slice of the pay-per-view pie that his undeniable star-power should entitle him to, it’s worth pointing out that Dana White has proven himself to be as stubborn as a mule on things like this in the past.
If we do, in fact, get an opportunity to see Nate or his brother Nick in action again, however, it will probably only come as a direct result of either side backing down, and with Dana on one side and the brothers Diaz on the other, maybe don’t hold your breath on this one, folks.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena