Nate Diaz has long been the owner of one of the most fractious relationships out there when it comes to fighters and the UFC. By now it seems clear that Diaz is intent on seeing out his ZUFFA owned contract and plying his trade elsewhere.
The UFC playbook in this situation is to offer a fighter a new contract and, if they turn it down, sit them on the sidelines for as long as possible, thus hurting the fighter’s ability to earn and making it more likely they will agree to the UFC’s terms.
When the UFC does offer a contract-rebel a fight, it’s likely to be one that is stacked against that fighter’s favour. That way, after the quarrelsome fighter loses, the UFC can enjoy a stronger hand at the negotiating table.
Those tough fight-ending contracts have an added benefit for the UFC, too. If a fighter looses poorly in the last fight on their deal, then it’s likely they will command less money from whatever promotion takes them next. The UFC likely believes this spiteful tactic will also hurt the rival promotion’s ability to sell that fighter as a UFC calibre talent.
Former UFC flyweight and bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo hinted that he thinks this is the scenario we are seeing play out with Nate Diaz, who is rumoured to be facing Khamzat Chimaev next—who happens to be the hottest prospect in MMA.
“Yeah, right now the UFC, I think they want, they want to feed him to a shark,“ said Cejudo when discussing the matter with The Schmo (ht sportskeeda). “That’s why they’re trying to kill… Because Diaz knows that there’s so much money to be made outside the UFC, that he doesn’t even care what millions they’re gonna end up giving him.”
Cejudo added that he thought Diaz leaving the UFC would be good for everyone, including the fighters who are left under Dana White’s purview.
“I do believe that Nate leaving the UFC is just going to generate more money for fighters, and kind of giving that leverage to fighters like: Hey man, it’s not the UFC , is not the only place where you can make a good living.”
Diaz remains one of the most popular figures in the sport, despite having only six fights since 2014. During that span, which included multiple year-plus lay-offs, Diaz has beaten Michael Johnson, Conor McGregor, and Anthony Pettis. His losses are to McGregor, Masvidal and—most recently—Leon Edwards.
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