According to UFC president Dana White, Nick Diaz recently turned down the opportunity to make a return to the Octagon against #6 ranked welterweight Hector Lombard. This does not mark the first time Diaz has turned down a fight in recent memory, after reportedly turning down a rematch with Carlos Condit and a middleweight bout with Michael Bisping.
“I tried to make Nick and Lombard. Nick and I talked, and I haven’t heard back from him, he went MIA. He said he liked the fight and then I never heard from him again,”
Since the reports surfaced, MMAFighting had the rare opportunity of getting Nick Diaz’s side of the story. Diaz is known for hiding from the media, but has recently been more media-friendly, including a scrum during UFC 171. While talking about the potential bout with Lombard, Diaz also looked at other elements of the fight game and why he is yet to return.
According to Diaz, he will not accept any less than $500,000 to fight for the promotion, or an immediate title shot.
“I never considered anything other than to renegotiate my contract or fight Johny Hendricks. All I said was, What am I getting paid? And he said, Let me check your contract. And the last text I got from him was what I would be fighting for. I didn’t consider fighting for that kind of money. I didn’t say anything back to him, right, but usually that means something. I’m not considering even for a second fighting any of those guys for less than $500,000. There’s no way.”
Diaz has a reputation for being reluctant at negotiating fights unless they meet his own demands, and this was a tactic that team member Gilbert Melendez utilised effectively when getting a $200k/$200k contract earlier this year. The Stockton favourite also stated how he is “not in love with fighting. I never was”, and any potential deal will therefore have to meet Diaz’s needs.
“I’m retired. Completely retired. Unless the UFC wants to renegotiate for something I’m happy with or I’m going to be fighting for the world title, which is obviously going to be for something I’m happy with because I’ll make a ton of money.
The UFC wants me to fight. The people want me to fight. I don’t want me to fight. So if we’re going to need me to fight, we’re going to have to work out the right deal.”
Check out the incredible interview here, but here is another gem from Diaz.
“I’m not going backwards in this sport ever, especially in pay. Why would I? To get my ass whooped? No. I would rather work at Wal-Mart.”
It looks like Nick Diaz will only be returning to the Octagon if the UFC can accept his terms, but I struggle to foresee this happening. Diaz and White have always had a rocky relationship, but the former Strikeforce champion is a big fan favourite who sells PPVs.