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Fightweets: Is Nick Diaz worth $500,000 per fight?


First the Diaz boys were all over the news. Then Ronda Rousey and Dana White kicked up a storm talking about a potential Rousey vs. Gina Carano fight, before White threw a curveball on Friday night and announced Rousey vs. Alexis Davis at UFC 175.

Really, if nothing else happened, this week was already a success for MMA website page views. But we also had an interesting UFC event out in Abu Dhabi on Friday for good measure.

So let's jump right into another big edition of Fightweets then, shall we?

The $500,000 question

@RuckerYeah: Is Nick Diaz worth $500,000 per show?


(OK, I probably shouldn't just end it at that).

The UFC says they want entertaining fighters. They've underscored this by releasing workmanlike veterans who still have something to give like Jake Shields, Jon Fitch and Yushin Okami (As an aside, since no one sent me a question about Shields, which kind of says it all, while it sucks for Shields, and he's a good guy, I mean, last year Lamar Odom made big money for the Clippers and didn't produce like a prime Lamar Odom. Are the Clippers obligated to bring him back at the same prime salary simply because of who he used to be?), while giving someone like Leonard Garcia a thousand opportunities before finally cutting him.

OK, if we accept this as the paradigm for the sake of argument, the flip side of is, if the UFC is willing to cut "boring" fighters after a single loss, they best be willing to reward fighters who are entertaining, intriguing, and, oh yeah, can headline a huge card, fill up and command an impressive buy rate.

Nick Diaz on own his own isn't a Georges St-Pierre or Anderson Silva-type draw. With the right opponent, however, he moves the needle on buy rates like few others. The UFC is hard-pressed for pay-per-view headliners at the moment. Let's do the math here. The UFC splits PPV money 50/50 with TV distributors. If the company ends up with $25 per buy (and I might be lowballing it, since I'm not sure what percentage of their buys are the higher-priced high def these days), then a bump of just 20,000 buys pays Diaz's price tag. Are you telling me that rematches with Carlos Condit or Robbie Lawler wouldn't do 20,000 more buys than Renan Barao vs. T.J. Dillashaw?

When Diaz was demanding a title shot in order to step back into the cage, well, that was a little silly. Naming a price which accurately reflects his value in this era in which the UFC needs more proven headliners isn't unrealistic at all.

Now, on to Nate ...

@SAMMANTX: Why do fighters, in your opinion, wait til after signing a contract to gripe about the pay? Dumb really.

Well, there's Nick Diaz's situation, and then there's Nate. Nick Diaz is a proven headline draw who can get people to shell out money for a PPV. Nate Diaz isn't.

Nate Diaz's last fight, against Gray Maynard, was the headline bout at the TUF 18 Finale. That card did a gate of $322,000 which is a near-disaster. Out of the 4,853 in attendance at the Mandalay Bay Events Center that night, 1,697 were comps. Barely 3,000 people thought a Nate Diaz-headlined card was worth spending money on. That's not exactly the sort of thing which demands tearing up your contract and getting a new one, especially when you lost your previous two fights.

It's not to hard to figure out what's going on here. Diaz is simply taking a look around at his other people. His brother made enough money that he doesn't have to fight again until he gets the price he wants. His teammate Gilbert Melendez just scored a huge contract. I can't blame him for getting upset.

But still. As righteous as Diaz's anger was and as entertaining as his rant was to read, White was correct in starting that there's a right way and wrong way to go about things. If you're unhappy with your pay at your job, do you go on a public tirade about it? Do you trash your employer on Twitter? And it's a matter of timing, too: Melendez got bank after putting in a Fight of the Year-contender performance in his contract fight. Diaz is 1-2 in his past three fights. As much as some want to gloss over it, it does, in fact, matter.

Nick Diaz is a headliner and commands headline money. Gilbert Melendez played the game right. Nate Diaz didn't. If I was in Dana White's shoes, I'd pay Nick Diaz the amount he wants to come back. But I wouldn't pay Nate Diaz an extra dime.

Should Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira retire?

@Stormlandband: Should Big Nog be forced into retirement at this point?

I'm pretty much the last person to tell any fighter to retire. That's for the fighter and those around him who have his best interests at heart to decide. But I do know, watching the former PRIDE and UFC interim heavyweight champion lose to Roy Nelson in the manner he did on Friday, that it's simply no fun watching a legend go down the tubes. He's been finished three times in his past four fights. He had his arm snapped. He's looked slower and slower and can take fewer shots in each fight than he did in the preceding encounter.

It's especially non-fun when you know what Nogueira means for the sport, and the way he's served as a goodwill ambassador. He carries himself more with an air of a sensei then of a cage fighter. He took the time to learn fluent English. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen him outside the arena or walking through the casino in Las Vegas, and he stops and makes time for every fan who wants a picture or an autograph. You just don't want to watch someone like Big Nog go out like this.

That said, news broke late Friday that Big Nog wants a rematch with Mir, the man who snapped his arm, before he rides off into the sunset. And you know what? I think I'm OK with that. The Mir loss is obviously the one big career regret Nogueira carries with him.

It's not like this is a mismatch for either fighter at this point. Mir, given the position he's in, should simply be grateful for one final opportunity to get back in the spotlight. So if both parties are game, then let them fight, put the bout in Brazil, and let Nog have his big sendoff. He's earned as much.

Ronda Rousey

Well then. I had written about 500 words off a reader question on all the talk about Rousey vs. Carano, and the idea Carano would get a title shot coming straight off her five-year retirement. Then on Friday night, White sent out the tweet announcing Rousey vs. Alexis Davis. So, having come back in here and hit delete on all the Rousey-Carano talk, some initial thoughts:

1. Don't sleep on Davis. She's won five straight and is the only woman besides Rousey who is 3-0 in the UFC for a reason.

2. This marks Rousey's third title defense in just more than six months, which is almost unheard of in this day and age.

3. How crazy is it that in this day of UFC cards stretched thin, as of now at least, UFC 175 features Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida, Rousey vs. Davis, and Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva?

4. And why do I have this sneaking suspicion that Carano is going to just so happen to have a cageside seat on July 5?

Cain or Nelson?

@ElCujorino: Would you rather take an overhand right from Velasquez or Big Country? I'll take the champs any day over Big Country's bomb WOW

Umm, is "neither" an option?

Got a question for a future Fightweets? Go to my Twitter page and leave me a tweet.

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