Nate Diaz goes off on UFC for ’embarrassing’ fighter pay, Dana White responds
Nate Diaz is mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore.
The UFC lightweight contender went off in an interview with MMAFighting.com on Tuesday, ripping the UFC for not paying him or his peers enough money. Diaz said he won’t return to the Octagon until the UFC pays him what he feels he deserves and currently he needs the money because he’s in trouble with the IRS.
Diaz tweeted in February asking for his release, which UFC president Dana White said he would not grant. The Stockton, Calif., product reiterated that wish Tuesday.
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) February 26, 2014
"If I can get released, I can go fight somewhere and make some money," he said. "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."
Diaz, 28, said he was "conned" into signing an eight-fight deal in late 2012 before a title fight with Benson Henderson. He said he didn’t like the contract, but the UFC told him he could renegotiate later if he signed it. Diaz admitted to asking for that very thing — more money — when he was approached about fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov in February. The UFC didn’t bite.
"The crazy thing to me is that in what other professional sport do the cheerleaders make more than the athletes?" Diaz said. "I’m sure Arianny Celeste, Brittney Palmer, Joe Rogan, Bruce Buffer … everybody makes more money than I do."
Diaz admitted his brother Nick, a top UFC welterweight (who is also on sabbatical), and training partner Gilbert Melendez make significantly more than he does. Diaz said he can’t go to lunch with them anymore, because if they start talking about contracts, he doesn’t have "anything but bitter s**t to say." Diaz said he’s making $60,000 to show and $60,000 to win.
"We’re entertaining entertainers," Diaz said. "We get Shaq, Justin Bieber and Lil’ Jon at the show. How are we entertaining billionaires and we can’t even get s**t?"
Diaz said his brother and Melendez deserve triple what they’re making and he doesn’t understand how boxers make so much more money than UFC fighters.
"I train harder than everybody in the UFC," Diaz said. "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."
UFC president Dana White, responding to Diaz, told MMAFighting.com that Diaz tried to renegotiate after losing two straight fights — to Henderson and Josh Thomson — and knocking out Gray Maynard in December.
"He thinks he loses to two of the best guys in the world and deserves more money?" White said. "In what f***ing planet does that make sense?"
White said Diaz was "happy as can be" when he signed his contract a little more than a year ago. White even tweeted a photo of himself and UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta with Diaz and his coach Cesar Gracie after the deal was signed.
Deal done pic.twitter.com/sfdQgXIT
— Dana White (@danawhite) August 7, 2012
"Now he comes off a win over Gray Maynard and feels like he should be making Justin Bieber money," White said. "Nate needs to get back in there and start fighting, win fights again and earn a title shot again. Guess how much money he makes sitting at home? Zero. Get back to work, Nate."