The standoff has come to an end with at least one of the Diaz brothers. UFC President Dana White announced on Saturday that Nate Diaz is finally ready to fight again.
Diaz was in Baltimore on Saturday night cornering Yancy Medeiros in his fight against Jim Miller at UFC 172. Fans haven’t really heard from the lightweight contender since he requested to be released from his UFC contract while in search of a significant pay raise.
During the post-fight media scrum for UFC 172, White was asked whether he had an opportunity to meet with Diaz and discuss the contractual dispute.
“I didn’t, no,” White told reporters. “I think Joe Silva did, and Nate said he’s ready to fight, so, he told Joe to call him.”
The request for a pay increase came at a relatively odd juncture in Diaz’s career. Despite a stellar showing in his knockout win over Gray Maynard at The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale, Diaz is 1-2 in his last three fights.
The sudden interest in a pay raise for Diaz likely stems from his teammate Gilbert Melendez’s blockbuster deal with the UFC. After testing the market, Melendez received a serious offer to jump ship to Bellator, but the UFC swiftly matched Bellator’s offer sheet to retain the services of the former Strikeforce lightweight champ.
Diaz’s request for a raise came only a few days after Melendez signed his new deal with the UFC.
The UFC has also run into similar problems with Nate’s older brother, Nick Diaz. The former Strikeforce welterweight champ retired from MMA over a year ago after losing back-to-back title fights to Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit.
White recently offered Nick a shot at top welterweight contender Hector Lombard, but Nick refused to fight anyone other than UFC welterweight champ Johny Hendricks unless offered a $500,000 payout.
In an interview with Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com, Nick made it crystal clear that it was either his way or the highway:
All I said was, What am I getting paid? And [Dana White] said, Let me check your contract. And the last text I got from him was what I would be fighting for. I didn't consider fighting for that kind of money. I didn't say anything back to him, right, but usually that means something. I'm not considering even for a second fighting any of those guys for less than $500,000. There's no way.
While White seems sure of Nate’s return, Nick is a completely different story. The former welterweight contender is a polarizing figure that would undoubtedly serve as a major boost to UFC's pay-per-view numbers.
But then again, how can anyone expect White to give a title shot and a pay raise to a fighter coming off back-to-back losses?
“No Nick,” White confirmed at the post-fight media scrum. “Nick’s got a lot of money, man. I think Nick’s just going to kick back until he has to fight.”
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon.
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