As the UFC enters a prolific calendar stretch hosting fight cards all over the globe, two of the promotion’s big draws -- Nick and Nate Diaz -- are on the sidelines. Both are disenchanted with their existing contracts and lack of title opportunities, and have been grousing about it in the media and on Twitter.
Not everybody is amused by the new demands to be paid better or be let go. In fact, UFC president Dana White came off as somebody who was fed up with dealing in the Diaz brothers’ drama, particularly when he feels they have no leverage to make revisions in their existing deals.
When asked about the situation after The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale in Quebec City on Wednesday night, White did a pity laugh.
"Nick Diaz has a contract," he said in the post-fight scrum. "The whole crazy thing with the Diaz brothers, this is one of those situations that’s going to be sad in a few years. When you look back on it you’re going to say, two talented kids that had fans and had interest in fighting and they sat out. What people don’t realize is that when you’re in the moment, and your time is now, guys don’t realize until it’s over -- you will never make that kind of money again for the rest of your life."
Nick Diaz recently told MMA Fighting that he was retired, and that he wouldn’t consider fighting again unless he makes $500,000 or is fighting for the title. This was a day after little brother Nate expressed embarrassment to MMA Fighting at what he makes on his existing contract, saying he was fighting for "funny money."
Both have stated that they want to renegotiate their existing contracts. White, who has expressed his frustration with the Diaz brothers many times in the past -- and even removed Nick from a title fight with Georges St-Pierre at UFC 137 due to insubordination -- took a bigger picture view on Wednesday.
"You know, you should fight as much as you can possibly fight, get as popular as you can possibly get, and make as much money as you possibly can," he said. "Coming off of two losses then you get a win, the Nate Diaz thing -- Nate was in a position, he fought for the title [against Benson Henderson], then he fought again [against Josh Thomson] to put himself back in title contention, and he got knocked out in that fight. And now he wants a new contract and a title shot and all this, and that’s now how all this works.
"So you can sit out, talk all you want, tweet all you want, you can do whatever you want. The bus is going to pass you by, and you’re going to be sitting there going what did I do? Or maybe they won’t. They’re the kind of kids…listen, I get it, you came from the mean streets, you guys are street guys and all that cool sh--, I get it. But you got to play the game a little bit and you’ve got to do what you’re supposed to do."
When asked if he’d expressed these types of broader sentiments to the Diaz’s, White said he would if he could, but it’s not that easy.
"You can’t talk to these guys," he said. "You can’t pick up the phone and call these guys. I talked to Nick [at UFC 171 in Dallas], I offered him the [Hector] Lombard fight, he said he was interested in it and then gone, disappears. Can’t contact him again, can’t get ahold of him.
"Listen, this is one of those things, life goes on. Life goes on without anybody. Presidents of countries leave, die, move on, whatever. The world moves on without you man. This is your time to make money, this is your time to do all these things, and if you just let it pass you by then that’s your decision, you’re grown men. I hear all these things, ‘we don’t know how to pay our taxes’ and ‘we don’t know how to buy houses,’ well, you’re grown men, you better f---ing figure it out quick because the bus is going to pass you by."