On a special live edition of The MMA Hour last week, Nate Diaz told Ariel Helwani that he is unlikely to fight Tony Ferguson at UFC 213. Diaz, who hasn’t fought since dropping a majority decision to Conor McGregor at UFC 202 last August, seemed to indicate that financial issues are the main obstacles standing in the way of the bout, saying that he had thrown a number at the promotion’s brass and that it hadn’t been reached.
However, the dollar amount was not the only numerical demand of Diaz’s that the company’s head honchos were apparently unwilling to meet.
The UFC had proposed that Diaz fight Ferguson for an interim lightweight title, but in a recent interview with ESPN journalist Brett Okamoto, Nate claimed that he had no interest in cutting down to the championship limit of 155lbs.
“If you’re trying to pull me out of a normal life right now, I’m not doing it for a fake title at 155 pounds,” Diaz said. “I told them I’d take the fight at 165 pounds, no belt. I’m not interested in losing a bunch of weight for no reason.”
“We never talked after that,” he said. “It’s really not a problem for me, though. You’re trying to call me out of my life. I didn’t call you begging for a fight. I’m fine with taking a fight, but I’m telling you what it’s going to take.”
With true champion Conor McGregor on hiatus, the UFC attempted to create an interim title at 155lbs earlier this year, setting up a bout between top contenders Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson at UFC 209. However, Nurmagomedov was dramatically pulled from the fight just hours in advance after being hospitalized due to complications with his weight cut.
The Russian subsequently revealed that he is unlikely to return to action before September, forcing the UFC to look at other options for Ferguson and the interim belt.
In the interview with Okamoto, Diaz went on to brand titles in a general as mere tools for the purpose of “manipulation”, a dangling carrot of sorts that the UFC use to control their fighters.
Of course, titles do bring the very real reward of a cut of Pay-per-view revenue. Something that UFC president Dana White reminded Diaz of in a recent interview with Yahoo! Sports.
In the same interview, White also posed the provocative question, “At the end of the day, what is Diaz worth without Conor McGregor?”
“If I’m not worth s—, why am I all over the news with people trying to figure out what’s what, when I’m not fighting?” Diaz said in response to White’s comments(via ESPN).
While the suggestion that Diaz can’t draw without the aid of McGregor’s star power was harsh and unfair, White’s recent expression of uncertainty over the future of the stubborn Stockton native and his equally belligerent brother, Nick, might have some merit.
“I don’t know if those guys will ever fight again,” White said in an interview with entertainment media outlet TMZ.
Nick’s situation at present is very unclear. But, his relationship with the UFC seemingly souring further with each passing day, Nate’s UFC career might well be at an end.