The act of defiant protest last week was the culmination of months, nay years of exasperation Diaz has seemingly suffered at the hands of the UFC. With just one fight left on his contract, the 37-year-old has this year consistently lashed out at the promotion for failing to secure his final opponent.
Nate has requested to be released from his contract and has even flirted with the idea of signing with Bellator. Never before, however, have we seen a professional athlete offer bodily fluids onto the negotiating table—a bold statement that has only further enamored Diaz to fans, and sent a clear message to the UFC brass.
But in Nate’s 15-year working relationship with the UFC, these sorts of protestations are far from the exception, but rather the rule. The Stockton bad boy has through the years regularly voiced countless complaints and grievances with his employer, and in this article, we’ll look back at some of his biggest spats with the UFC.
2014: Diaz Requests Release From “F*cked Up” UFC Contract
Diaz’s first significant public squabble with the UFC came in 2014, just months after he earned Knockout of the Night against Gray Maynard in the Ultimate Fighter Finale. Then 28 years old and 12-7 in the UFC, Diaz posted a tweet requesting to be released from his contract.
Following that tweet, Diaz decided to air his many contractual grievances with the UFC to media. The then lightweight stated that “I don’t get paid sh*t” and alleged that his employer had “conned me into signing an eight-fight contract.”
“My contract is all f*cked up,” Diaz told MMA Fighting. “I want to be paid like these other fighters. I’m over here getting chump change.”
In protest of his unfavorable contract, Diaz chose to stay out of the Octagon for over a year— an act that saw the UFC drop him from the lightweight rankings. He finally made his return against Rafael dos Anjos in December 2014. Diaz missed weight for the bout and was fined 20 percent of his purse.
2016: Diaz Claims The “UFC Played Me Again” As Conor Rematch Stalls
In March 2016, Diaz pulled off one of the biggest upset wins in MMA history by defeating Conor McGregor on just 11 days’ notice — a feat that saw Nate’s star rise to stratospheric heights.
Organizing a rematch between his promotion’s two biggest stars was of course the number one priority for UFC President Dana White. But after he flew to Stockton, California to get Diaz to sign on the dotted line, things went pear shaped.
Their meeting started off amicably as Nate, White and a few UFC suits negotiated terms for the rematch while chowing down at a restaurant. But according to TMZ, Diaz later said something that caused White to become visibly angry, stand up and beeline it for his SUV.
This little blow up from White caused the rematch talks to drag on for months, during which time Diaz once again took to his favorite social media platform to enlighten the public as to the unscrupulous business practices of his employer.
Diaz would of course eventually hash out his differences with White and agree to a rematch with McGregor in August 2016, which he lost by majority decision.
2017: “This F*cker Can’t Stop Making Shit Up About Me”
Many people thought that Diaz — most notably himself — had in fact defeated McGregor in their rematch. Despite initially desiring a rubber match with the Irishman, in the months that followed, Nate nixed the idea.
Dana White, however, claimed that Diaz was still keen on the bout. The UFC President told media that “We keep offering Nate fights, and he keeps turning them down,” insisting that he was “holding out for McGregor.”
This prompted Diaz to lash out at White on Twitter, accusing him of lying and noting that the only fight he had been offered was that against McGregor.
2018: Nate Storms Out Of UFC 203 Presser
After nearly two years in the MMA wilderness, Diaz was scheduled to face Dustin Poirier at UFC 203 in November 2018. But when at the press conference the UFC decided to play a promo for the upcoming clash between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor, the Stockton native stormed off stage in a huff.
Diaz was seemingly offended that his long-awaited UFC return was being overshadowed by his most bitter rival, McGregor. He later tweeted that he was pulling out of the fight, and Nate wasn’t seen in the Octagon again until August the following year.
2019: Nate Slams The UFC For “Ostracizing” Him
In August 2019, Diaz finally made his return from three years of self-imposed exile to face Anthony Pettis at UFC 241. Leading up to the clash, Nate spoke to media to clear the air as to why he spent so long on the sidelines. And to no one’s surprise, he placed the blame squarely on the UFC, who Diaz accused of pretending that he had vanished.
“I beat the best guy at the moment, I beat the best guy, and you guys are just treating me like, vanished, then I’m like, ‘Oh well f*ck me, so f*ck you,’” Diaz told ESPN. “I’m a bigger draw, a bigger fight than anybody in the game and you guys are going to just sit back and not participate and ‘black sheep’ me — not ‘black sheep,’ it’s like ‘ostracized,’ put me on the outskirts of the whole conversation.”
2022: Diaz Grows Increasingly Inpatient With The UFC
Diaz’s frustrations with the UFC have reached fever pitch this year. With just one fight left on his contract, the 37 year old has consistently called for the promotion to find an opponent for him, but to no avail.
Somehow, despite both fighters verbally agreeing in February, Diaz’s proposed matchup with Dustin Poirier fell through. This prompted Nate to once again request to be released from his UFC contract.
Then in April, Nate lashed out at the UFC for turning both himself and his brother, Nick, into NFTs (non-fungible tokens). The Stockton bad boy took to Twitter to air his displeasure, reiterating his desire to exit the UFC.
Nate, however, still seems determined to fight one last time in the UFC before he likely calls it quits. In May, his attention turned to Michael Chandler following his brutal knockout of Tony Ferguson at UFC 274. Diaz took to Twitter to demand that the UFC set up the matchup.
This demand clearly wasn’t considered by the UFC to Diaz’s satisfaction, because two days later, he decided to urinate on the lawn of the UFC Performance Institute. And that’s where Nate’s relationship with the promotion currently stands, which begs the question: will he finally get an opponent, and will it be the last of his UFC career?
It’s now been almost a year since Nate last graced the Octagon, and despite having lost three of his last four fights, his star is undoubtedly shining brighter than it ever has. We can only speculate as to the back-room machinations that have prevented him from securing an opponent. But hopefully soon he’ll come to terms with the UFC, secure an opponent, and if we’re lucky, sign a new contract.