Nate Diaz signed an eight fight contract with the UFC in 2012, prior to his title shot with Benson Henderson.
In Mid Feb of this year, contract negotiations between the UFC and Gil Melendez broke down. Melendez came to terms with Bellator, and the UFC exerted their right to match the contract.
Fortunately for Melendez, the contract with Bellator was remarkably favorable, offering for example points on a pay per view at a very low threshhold, that the UFC was then obliged to match. Further, Melendez earns points on the PPV, regardless of whether he is the main even, the co main, or simply on the main card. Further, 75% of his fights have to be on PPV. Bellator could presumably be generous with these terms as they had not a PPV to date, and if they had, high buys were not anticipated.
Melendez and Diaz are both Cesar Gracie trained lightweights, and presumably when Diaz heard that Melendez had gotten one of the best contracts in UFC history, he looked at his contract in a different light.
In April he tweeted that he wanted to be released from his contract with the UFC.
Diaz then did an extended interview with Ariel Helwani for MMAFighting.
"My contract is all f---ed up," said Diaz. "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 don't get paid s---, 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 s---, 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."
"My partners still make s--- 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 s--- I get $60,000 and $60,000. 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 bulls---. 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.
"When I signed my last contract, they conned me into signing an eight-fight contract to fight Henderson. I was negotiating my contract three weeks out from the fight. [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 s---. They gave me a little something to shut me up for a minute, 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 s--- 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 fight when it wasn't working out for them and Gil. 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.
"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."
UFC president Dana White has said several times that Diaz needs to honor the contract he signed.
"He was happy as can be when he signed his new deal," Said White. "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---ing planet does that make sense?"
For the past couple of months, the situation has not changed. Diaz does not want to fight for the contracted amount, so the situation is frozen
Nate Diaz's manager Mike Kogan recently appeared on Submission Radio, and discussed contract negotiations with the UFC.
"We asked to sit down and have a conversation about our contract and they said no," said Kogan as transcribed by BloodyElbow. "So we said OK, then we'll sit out and wait until you know, something changes. We're just kinda all in limbo. Hopefully we'll sit down and have a productive conversation. So far, all of our interaction has been through media, you know we say something and then they say something and we say something. We're yet to actually have a conversation.
"I had a brief conversation with Joe Silva and he said 'well that's not going to happen' so I said 'okay sounds good' so we'll just wait. Wait and see, but we don't have a specific goal, we just want to be able to have a conversation and see what happens. Nate will be open to fighting anywhere where he's paid the most and where his stock has the most value, but we are under contract with the UFC so it doesn't really matter."
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