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Dana White: 'Nate Diaz is not a needle mover'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The standoff between the UFC and Nate Diaz doesn't appear to be nearing an end anytime soon.

"Nate Diaz is not a needle mover," UFC President Dana White told reporters in Dublin on Friday when asked if Zuffa CEO Lorenzo Fertitta has attempted to mend fences between the two sides.

"I love Nate Diaz. Nate Diaz is actually one of my favorite kids. I always got along with Nate, Nate was always great. Lowest rated FOX show ever. Lowest rated FOX show ever. His numbers, he doesn't pull the numbers in. Nick (Diaz) is a needle mover. Nick moves the needle. [Nate] doesn't pull good numbers.

"Listen, if Nate Diaz was the guy, we'd work it out in a minute. If you move the needle, those are the guys that make the big money. You realize he's like 1-3 in his last three fights? He's 1-3, he's nowhere near a title fight, he's never won a title, and he doesn't move the needle."

In reality, Diaz (17-9), who defeated Gray Maynard last November to snap a two-fight slump, is 1-2 over his last three fights, although White's assertion that Diaz is not a "needle mover" is notable. The Stockton native has headlined three of his last four events, two on FOX and one on FOX Sports 1, and ratings have fluctuated.

UFC on FOX 3, which Diaz headlined alongside Jim Miller, averaged just 2.4 million viewers, the third-lowest number in the UFC on FOX series. However Diaz rebounded with a strong ratings performance for his UFC on FOX 5 title challenge against Benson Henderson, averaging 4.4 million viewers, the third-best showing ever for a FOX event.

Additionally, Diaz's victory over Maynard at the TUF 18 Finale drew 1,129,000 viewers, a successful number when compared to a majority of the Fight Night series, of which viewership can often sink below seven figures.

Still, White isn't convinced.

"He seems like he's popular when you're looking on f--king Twitter and some website," White said. "But the numbers, the real numbers, tell the truth. We know who moves needles and who doesn't move needles. If Nate Diaz was a massive needle mover, we'd have called him. He'd be on the phone, we'd be figuring it out and we'd work it out. He doesn't move the needle.

"This isn't a ‘sort things out' thing. You're under contract. You just signed this contract. Who is happy? Who's really, at the end of the day (who is happy)? When we signed Melendez is when he got unhappy. When his partner got his contract, he became unhappy.

"I know he trains with Melendez," White finished. "But Melendez is one of the top guys in the world. He's the No. 1 ranked guy in the world, next in line for a title shot, he's a former world champion. Nate has absolutely nothing like that on his résumé, and he's 1-3 in his last few fights."

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