Not many stories have drawn more headlines and talk in MMA than Nate Diaz‘s UFC status. While he now has the final fight of his active promotional deal booked, a pay-per-view headliner versus undefeated welterweight Khamzat Chimaev, that announcement came after months of back and forth with the MMA leader.
At the height of it, Diaz even accused the UFC of holding him “hostage,” a claim that White vehemently denied at a subsequent post-fight press conference. He cited the promotion’s need to offer each member of its roster at least three fights per year as evidence that proves Diaz’s claim to be false.
“We can’t hold guys hostage. It’s not possible. I owe you three fights a year. If I don’t fight you three times a year, I have to pay you. How can I hold him hostage?” White questioned. “I have to get him three fights a year. I offer fights, and he either accepts them or turns them down. Obviously I’m not paying him, so I’ve offered him fights.”
That response didn’t go down well with Diaz, who took to Twitter to insist that he hadn’t been offered a single fight in nine months, and that’s despite requesting to fight numerous opponents in that time.
Now, Helwani has also assessed White’s claim, coming to the conclusion that it’s utter “hogwash.”
During a recent Q&A on The MMA Hour, the Canadian journalist suggested that there’s no truth behind the claim that the UFC must offer a certain number of fights within a specific timeframe.
“This whole thing, ‘We have to offer him three fights, it’s all hogwash. It’s all hogwash,” Helwani said. “They give you X amount of fights for X amount of time. So it doesn’t say explicitly, ‘We have to do this,’ or ‘We have to do that.’ These contracts are very much weighted in their favor, very much. Over time, a little bit less, a little bit less, (but) still, to this day, very much.”
Helwani also dismissed the notion that the promotion has ever provided payouts to fighters after not fulfilling the apparent ‘three fights a year clause.
“There’s not a single fighter on the roster that I know of — and please present yourself if I’m wrong here — who didn’t get offered three fights and they got paid as a result,” Helwani said. “Unless that is explicitly stated in your specific contract, that’s not a real thing. It’s (for example), ‘I’m going to sign a six-year deal and it’s gonna be a two-year term’ or something like that. Well, that equals out, six divided by two is three. It’s not a real thing, especially not for a guy with one fight left.”
Fighters Support Helwani’s Claim
Helwani certainly isn’t making remarks without the agreement of some fighters, too.
After Diaz claimed to have not been offered a fight in nine months, UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou responded, stating that he wasn’t sent six fight offers in the two years prior to his knee injury.
“The past 2 years before my injury I didn’t get my 6 fights though.”
That spurred former UFC titleholder and reigning Bellator Women’s Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg, who’s not been shy about speaking out against the Dana White-led promotion since her 2019 departure, to share a similar sentiment.
The Brazilian responded to “The Predator,” noting that she also fell short of the three fights that the UFC supposedly have to offer its fighters during her Octagon tenure.
“I never got more than 2 fights a year in the UFC”
Do you think Ariel Helwani’s assessment about Dana White’s claim is correct?