Monday, August 15, 2022

Helwani: UFC Didn’t Want Sterling To Get Diaz PPV Points

Renowned MMA journalist Ariel Helwani believes there was some financial maliciousness involved in the UFC‘s decision to move Aljamain Sterling vs. TJ Dillashaw off the UFC 279 card, which is set to be headlined by Nate Diaz.

After months of speculation, back and forth, and social media posts calling for his release, longtime UFC star Diaz has the final bout of his active contract booked.

While towards the start of the year it appeared that a fan-friendly clash with Dustin Poirier was on the menu, the promotion has turned to an unbeaten welterweight contender for the Stockton native’s likely UFC farewell.

In the main event of UFC 279, Diaz will share the Octagon with Khamzat Chimaev. Talk of the matchup first surfaced when a matchmaking leak showed it listed for UFC 276 earlier this month. Despite Diaz suggesting “Borz” had previously turned down the fight, it appears he’ll be recovered from his April war with Gilbert Burns and ready to go in Las Vegas on September 10.

With the announcement, it was one on and one off for UFC 279. While Diaz and Chimaev slot into the main event spot, the UFC bantamweight champion’s scheduled second defense against former divisional kingpin Dillashaw was pushed back a month to October’s UFC 280 event.

And according to Helwani, that move had a motive that derived from the promotion’s negative perception of “Funkmaster.”

Helwani: UFC Won’t Want To Share The Diaz Pie

During a recent Q&A on The MMA Hour, Helwani discussed the recent pay-per-view shifts. The Canadian believes that Sterling, who has made his efforts to secure a big payday for his next defense public, is missing out on a lucrative PPV purse because he’s not loved by the UFC.

While Diaz is certainly a significant PPV draw in any scenario, his recent dispute with the UFC, not to mention the possibility that UFC 279 will mark his final Octagon appearance, could make September 10 a highly-profitable night for the MMA leader.

With that in mind, Helwani doesn’t believe the UFC wants the bantamweight titleholder, who receives PPV points, to get a split of the cash.

“They’re not gonna put Aljamain Sterling and TJ Dillashaw on that card. Number one, they don’t love Aljo,” Helwani said. “He gets pay-per-view points. They ain’t gonna share that pie — that they’re paying a lot of money of that pie to Nate, and then give Aljo some of those points. So, poor Aljo and Dillashaw, they’ll put them on the Abu Dhabi card.”

While Sterling has since suggested that he’s by no means opposed to making the trip to Abu Dhabi, the inevitable payday from a Diaz-headlined event would no doubt have been appealing, especially for a champion who is striving for more respect from the UFC brass.

Do you agree with Ariel Helwani’s assessment of the UFC’s decision to move Aljamain Sterling vs. TJ Dillashaw?

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