Opinion: The Troubles of Nate Diaz
By Jesse Heitz
In recent pieces I’ve been able to largely focus on topics that have required the employment of little to no sarcasm or ridicule. However, today’s topic of discussion undoubtedly requires a healthy dose of criticism which may well heavily feature the aforementioned elements.
The topic to be discussed, one that has been hidden in the headlines, buried beneath the chatter about the preposterous team-based MMA, is Nate Diaz and his apparent feud with the UFC. In a recent interview with MMAFighting.com, Diaz discussed, in depth, his incredible dissatisfaction with his current level of compensation, stating,
“They need to be about more money. My contract is all f*cked up. I want to be paid like these other fighters. I’m over here getting chump change. At this point, they’re paying all my partners and other people I train with are getting real money, and it’s too embarrassing for me to even fight again for the money they’re paying me. So they can either pay me or let me go. I’m with that.
I train harder than everybody in the UFC. And then there’s boxers out there getting multimillion dollar contracts, and I’m a bigger draw than boxers. It’s embarrassing. I think I’m the biggest draw in the lightweight division. I feel like they’re trying to weed me out of the top 10. I saw that I went from no. 5 to 6 in the rankings, for some reason. That doesn’t make any sense.
I don’t get paid sh*t, and I’m about to tell the world. I didn’t like what my brother and my partners got paid. Now that they got a better contract, which still ain’t sh*t, it blows what I get out of the water. And they deserve triple what they get. I’ve been in the UFC for eight years and never turned down a fight. It’s not like I’m getting paid 20 bucks an hour and they’re getting 50 bucks an hour. I’m getting 20 bucks an hour and they’re getting paid 15,000 bucks an hour. They blow me out the water. At this point, I can’t even go to lunch with my partners because if we start talking about contracts or our business, I don’t have anything but bitter sh*t to say. We’re entertaining entertainers. We get Shaq, Justin Bieber and Lil’ Jon at the show. How are we entertaining billionaires and we can’t even get sh*t?….
I don’t get paid sh*t. I get $60,000 (to show) and $60,000 (to win). If I were doing this for the fame, I would have quit seven years ago. I can’t tell you what my brother and Gil make, but I can tell you that they signed a contract for more than I get paid to headline and win a fight, and that’s bullsh*t.”
Where does one even begin? First of all, I should make it abundantly clear that I am by no means a fan of either Diaz brother, yet after this rant, I could not possibly fathom becoming a fan of this man. Aside from the general lack of sportsmanship he routinely exhibits, a cardinal sin in my book, he just doesn’t seem to have “it”. The “it” I’m talking about is legitimate star power, or drawing potential.
Sure, he’s an earner in the fight world, but not a mega earner, a fighter that can singlehandedly carry a card to the proverbial promised land, green pastures filled with the likeness of Benjamin Franklin if you catch my drift. Let’s be honest here, the UFC pays a handful of proven draws what Diaz would probably consider to be “fair” money. Diaz undoubtedly hauls in a level of compensation well above many of the men and women with whom he shares a place on any given card, who possess similar accomplishments in the sport.
Dating back to mid-2011 Diaz is 4-4 in his last eight. Should a .500 fighter in his last three years earn as much as former titleholders Melendez and Nick Diaz, who are 7-1 and 6-2 in their last eight, respectively? Diaz himself admits to earning a minimum of $60,000 just to show, that’s $240,000 if he fought four times a year and lost each fight (figures that don’t include endorsements). I’m of the opinion that when you can earn nearly half a million dollars a year (not including submission and knockout of the night bonuses) for four fights, that’s a pretty decent deal, one most any American would be satisfied with. If one has the audacity to find such figures to be unfair, then by all means don’t sign the contract.
So to sit and whine like a child that you aren’t getting paid properly when you are earning well into the six figures, is beyond petty. Diaz needs to face the facts; he simply doesn’t have the reputation, the name power, the all-important standing with the fans, to make millions. It’s really that simple for Diaz, quit whining and keep winning, that’s the guaranteed way to more money. Anything short of that, and I suppose Diaz will have to settle for his so-called chump change.