Rory MacDonald may be in the midst of a contract dispute with the UFC, but that doesn't mean he is going to begrudge one of his past Octagon opponents for their success.
MacDonald, who in 2011 dominated Nate Diaz at UFC 129, said he was delighted to see Diaz at last score the big payday that had previously eluded him for his stunning second-round upset over Conor McGregor at UFC 196.
"That's awesome. I'm super happy for him, man," MacDonald said Monday on The MMA Hour. "I hope everybody gets paid like that, especially guys who've been around for so long. I've seen a couple of his fight numbers after, and I was absolutely pissed. I was like, how is a guy like this making that money, you know?
"I feel the same way about my fights too. Sometimes I look at the numbers, I'm like, what the f**k, man? How am I getting paid that. So when you hear something like that, it makes you happy for martial artists."
Diaz earned a disclosed $500,000 purse for his short-notice victory over McGregor, which he accepted on less than two week's notice after UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos withdrew from the event with a broken foot. Although in reality, Diaz's total payday was likely much greater.
UFC president Dana White claimed last week that UFC 196 sold an estimated 1.5 million pay-per-views, easily making it one of the highest selling pay-per-views in company history. Those figures, combined with a third-best ever $8.1 million live gate, indicate that UFC 196 likely generated more revenue than any event since UFC 100, and Diaz played a large part in its success despite a mere 11-day window to promote the fight opposite McGregor.
That all of UFC 196's incredible success came less than two years after White infamously said Diaz would not be allowed to renegotiate his UFC contract because he was not a "needle mover" was just icing on the cake for the younger son of Stockton, who suffered back-to-back year-long layoffs in 2014 and 2015 due to his contract issues with the UFC.
Diaz's previous deal before renegotiating for UFC 196 saw the 22-fight Octagon veteran competing for $20,000 to show and $20,000 to win in each of his prior two fights against dos Anjos and Michael Johnson. Against dos Anjos, because of a missed weight cut, Diaz actually came away earning just $16,000 to fight in a co-main event on a FOX show that peaked at 3.8 million viewers.
So while MacDonald is presently unsatisfied with his own contract situation, he can still appreciate the success of someone like Diaz for pushing through the tides of shaky contractual waters and emerging out the other side with a sizable check to cash.
"It's definitely becoming a main issue in our sport," MacDonald said. "Guys really want to see themselves get paid. They understand that this isn't forever, and there's no pension after this or anything like that. You've got to make your money while you're in it, so it's a hot topic now."