UFC president Dana White conducted a press conference on Friday in Dublin, and was asked if ZUFFA CEO Lorenzo Fertitta had attempted to bring Nate Diaz back into the cage. The fan favorite has been in limbo since March, when he tweeted that he wanted a release from his contract.
It is widely believed that Diaz is upset over the disparity between his contract and that of his teammate Gil Melendez, signed when "El Nino" was at the center of a bidding war between the UFC and Bellator.
"As far as I'm concerned, I don't get paid s---," Diaz told MMAFighting in April. "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---."
White however was adamant that Diaz is not going to get a renegotiated contract.
"Nate Diaz is not a needle mover," said White as transcribed by Shaun Al-Shatti for MMAFighting.
"I love Nate Diaz. Nate Diaz is actually one of my favorite kids. I always got along with Nate, Nate was always great. Lowest rated FOX show ever. Lowest rated FOX show ever. His numbers, he doesn't pull the numbers in. Nick is a needle mover. Nick moves the needle. He doesn't pull good numbers.
"Listen, if Nate Diaz was the guy, we'd work it out in a minute. If you move the needle, those are the guys that make the big money. You realize he's like 1-3 in his last three fights? He's 1-3, he's nowhere near a title fight, he's never won a title, and he doesn't move the needle."
"He seems like he's popular when you're looking on f---ing Twitter and some website. But the numbers, the real numbers, tell the truth. We know who moves needles and who doesn't move needles. If Nate Diaz was a massive needle mover, we'd have called him. He'd be on the phone, we'd be figuring it out and we'd work it out. He doesn't move the needle.
"This isn't a ‘sort things out' thing. You're under contract. You just signed this contract. Who is happy? Who's really, at the end of the day? When we signed Melendez is when he got unhappy. When his partner got his contract, he became unhappy.
"I know he trains with Melendez. But Melendez is one of the top guys in the world. He's the No. 1 ranked guy in the world, next in line for a title shot, he's a former world champion. Nate has absolutely nothing like that on his resume, and he's 1-3 in his last few fights."
White misspoke in calling Diaz 1-3 his last fights, and obviously meant to say 1-2 his last three, which is correct. However, Diaz's ratings are not the disaster presented. Diaz headlined UFC on FOX 5: Henderson vs. Diaz and UFC on FOX 3: Diaz vs. Miller. While the latter fight was the third lowest rating for a UFC on FOX event, his title challenge vs. Henderson was the third highest rating for a UFC on FOX. While White's numbers are doubtless more sound than those made available to the public, it does not appear factually correct to described them as the lowest ever.
Diaz's manager Mike Kogan took to Twitter to defend his client's ratings power.
"4.4 mil 3rd highest, 2.4mil on the night f---ing Mayweather fought and Mosley was co-main and 1.2mil on s--- TUF finale don't move needles?" tweeted Kogan.
White responded bluntly.
"Hey Kogan u scumbag POS, if Nate didn't listen to ur dumb ass he wouldn't be in this position," said White. "Quit f---in up kids careers dirtbag."
In any case, the hardcore fanbase does not care about television numbers, or the difference between a 1.3 and 4.0. Real fight fans want to see exciting fighters fight. Nate Diaz is an exciting fighter, and exchanging contrary words in the media does not seem like a likely path to get Nate Diaz back in the cage being exciting.