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Quote of the Day: Nate Diaz Unleashes the Mother of All Fighter Pay Rants (to Dana White’s Confusion)

(“Hold up a second, Nate. If you’re really only making that much money for this fight, I’ll gladly bow out.” Photo via Getty)

You may recall that back in February, Nate Diaz requested to be released from his UFC contract, stating via Twitter that “It’s time for me to be on my way..?” Most of us assumed that the empty threat was just that, a thinly-veiled attempt by the former title challenger and TUF winner to get some of that Gil Melendez money (see previously: “ive gotta high school reuinion i have to tend too“). In any case, we haven’t heard a word from Diaz since.

Until yesterday, however, when MMAFighting managed to get ahold of the ever-elusive Stocktonian and pressed him on his current standing with the promotion. Diaz’s response was a rant against the current state of fighter pay so vivid and thorough that we’re still not convinced it wasn’t spoken through his anger translator:

I’m ready to fight but not for some funny money that they’re trying to give me. They can let me go or they can let me fight, but let me do something. They know I need to make some money. I feel like they’re just trying to keep me on the waiting list. I don’t even want to communicate through anybody. If they want to figure out what’s going on, we should talk. No one is contacting me. I’m just doing my thing. Training every day. I’m ready to fight tomorrow.

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.

Has anyone else ever considered the possibility that the Diaz’s are capable of being embarrassed? Like, that they possess the amount of self-awareness necessary to understand the emotion?

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. 

Preaching to the choir there, brotha.

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.

I like to imagine that these power lunches consist of Diaz, Warren Buffett, Mark Cuban, and Ice-T sitting at the head table of Medieval Times and lamenting recent business ventures while ravaging on tankards of ale and turkey legs.

“It’s like, no, you know, I can barely even afford a side of tomato bisque soup like all you made motherf*ckers, know what I’m saying?”

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?

Don’t forget Rosie!

My partners still make sh*t money for what the company is bringing in. They’re happy because they’re not getting paid what they used to get paid, so they get little chunks to shut up. As far as I’m concerned, 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. So you understand where I’m coming from? I can’t even fight for the money they’re offering me. So I ask to get released because I can’t fight there for that. 

I don’t talk to the UFC. No one calls me. I’m not going to call them begging. They know I’m on call, I take every fight. They know what they should be giving out. 

When I signed my last contract, they conned me into signing an eight-fight contract to fight [Benson] Henderson. I was negotiating my contract three weeks out from the fight. [My manager] Mike [Kogan] came in and got me a little bit of a raise — a little – they act like they hooked me up. They didn’t do sh*t. They gave me a little something to shut me up for a minute. [They] got me to sign the contract, but the way they got me to sign the contract was like, Just trust me, sign the contract, and we can renegotiate anytime. I was like, I’ll just fight a couple of fights and then talk some sh*t because I don’t like this contract. So I’ll renegotiate in a couple of fights because they told me I could do that. Then they called me to take the Khabib [Nurmagomedov] fight when it wasn’t working out for them and Gil [Melendez]. They were trying to lowball Gil, too, and he was supposed to fight Khabib, but he said he couldn’t take the fight for the money they were offering. So they call me the next day and ask me to fight Khabib. I said, I’ll take the fight as long as I can renegotiate my contract. And then it was all downhill from there. Then they tweeted out that I turned down the fight, and I never turned down the fight. They tried to do me dirty. 

Wait, wait, wait…you mean to say that Dana White might have tweeted something completely reactionary and not based in fact? Well I for one am shocked. Shocked I tells ya!

If I can get released, I can go fight somewhere and make some money. If they can renegotiate, I can make some money, because right now I’m broke. For some reason, the IRS is telling me that I owe them more money than I have right now, and I pay my taxes every year. 

“Uh…Nate, I’m pretty sure ‘joint return’ doesn’t mean what you think it does.”
– Diaz’s accountant

At this point, they’re having a fat-ass party with others getting paid and they’re letting me see it. Before, I had no argument because I didn’t really know. But now they’re letting me see the party and letting me in. So now that I know for sure, I’m going to talk. If everybody would start speaking up and quit keeping their mouths shut, people would start getting paid. We’re working for a billion-dollar company. It’s ridiculous. I go to boxing events where they pay the fighters so much money and those boxing events aren’t even half the shows that the UFC is.

The crazy thing to me is that in what other professional sport do the cheerleaders make more than the athletes? I’m sure Arianny Celeste, Brittney Palmer, Joe Rogan, Bruce Buffer, probably you, everybody makes more money than I do. So I’m trying to make a move here. The way that the UFC makes me look, too, makes people I know believe that I’m some type of millionaire. I got a family to feed. I got my mom. She just got a brand new house and working two jobs still. I’m trying to break her off some money when I can but I’m going as broke as her.

There’s a lot more money that needs to be dished out because it’s coming in, and I know it.

It just goes to show, even the hardest, realest, anti-bullshitingest motherf*ckers in the UFC are just doing this MMA thing to break off some money for their moms. (*tattoos tear drop on cheek*)

As you would expect, Dana White’s response was equal parts logical business owner and corporate fat cat rubbing his greedy palms together.

Nate Diaz came in and signed a new deal and was very happy with his new deal. We gave him a shot at the title and he lost to Benson Henderson. If he would have won, obviously his deal would have changed if he became champion, which he did not. Then he got stopped by Thomson. Thomson finished him.

Now he comes off a win over Gray Maynard and feels like he should be making Justin Bieber money. Nate needs to get back in there and start fighting, win fights again and earn a title shot again.

What the hell is with all these Bieber shout-outs? I CHOSE MMA BLOGGING TO *AVOID* THAT TURD, DANA.

He was happy as can be when he signed his new deal. Go back and look at my twitter after he signed the new deal. I tweeted it. He was happy. We’ve done everything to honor the contract. I’ve always been good to Diaz. This is the kind of craziness you see with athletes. They end up spinning off and don’t make the money they should have made. Nate Diaz has what it takes to be champion or he doesn’t, but I’ll tell you, there’s only one way to find out. He has to come back and fight. He thinks he loses to two of the best guys in the world and deserves more money? In what f*cking planet does that make sense?

Guess how much money he makes sitting at home? Zero. Get back to work, Nate.

You know, there was an interesting discussion on the Co-Main Event Podcast recently about whether or not there should be a precedent set regarding the absolute minimum an MMA fighter should receive for a fight. While the topic itself was spurred by the news that a fighter at WSOF 9 made just $500 to show, it’s a discussion that bears just as much relevance in the UFC.

While Diaz’s current 60k/60k is rather standard fare for someone in his position in today’s UFC landscape (Gray Maynard, a fellow TUF alum and former title challenger, made 45k for his fight with Diaz), perhaps that’s the problem. There’s no denying that any veteran of Diaz’s caliber surely deserves more than a 60k split per fight, let alone the 15k/15k he was reportedly paid for his performance at the TUF 18 Finale. Any occupation with as much inherent risk as MMA deserves to be paid accordingly, especially when a multi-billion dollar company is the one financing it.

But while we’re discussing how things should be done, I also think that topless Kate Upton should serve me breakfast in bed every morning. The difference between the fantasy I’ve just constructed and Diaz’s being that only one of us has any chance of actually doing something about it. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: If MMA fighters want to actually do something about their pathetic pay situation, they need to take greater action than bitching about it on Twitter. Form a fighter’s union, or at the very least, maybe discuss your payrate with your boss, face to face, instead of airing your grievances for the world to see like the true professional you are supposed to be. It’s really not that hard.

-J. Jones

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