Sunday, October 2, 2022

Sonnen Praises “Loyal” Diaz For Demands In UFC Negotiations

Former MMA fighter-turned-analyst Chael Sonnen has praised Nate Diaz for the request he made during negotiations with the UFC.

Tonight at UFC 279, former TUF victor and one-time title challenger Diaz is expected to close the Octagon chapter of his combat sports career. Having reached the final bout of his active contract, the Stockton native will become a free agent following his headliner with fellow legend Tony Ferguson.

While it’s long appeared that Diaz has planned to exit the promotion, with his struggle to find an opponent earlier this year leading to numerous calls for the UFC to release him so that he could pursue other ventures, there was one factor that could have seen Diaz re-sign.

In a fight-week interview with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto, Diaz revealed his request to have 10 of ‘his guys’ signed to the UFC in exchange for him putting pen to paper on a new contract.

“You want me in? Then me and my 10 guys, we’re all coming,” Diaz said. “I need contracts for all my guys. After I said it and the deal was getting worked on, I was thinking they’re signing all my friends and I have to fight here.

“And then they started coming back and offering my guys (The Ultimate Fighter, Dana White‘s Contender Series, etc.)… everybody’s in or I’m out,” Diaz added. “I’m calling my own shot… ain’t nobody’s telling me what to do, ever.”

Having heard Diaz’s selfless offer and willingness to remain in an organization he had little desire to compete for in order to benefit his team members, Chael Sonnen praised Diaz as a “loyal” individual.

Sonnen: ‘It’s Rare Someone Looks Out For Those Under Them Like Diaz Did’

During a video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Sonnen discussed Diaz’s request during his negotiations with the UFC, which he branded as “very rare.”

After suggesting that the UFC had clearly respected the lengths that Diaz was willing to go by considering the offer and negotiating possible spots on DWCS and TUF, Sonnen lauded the Stockton native’s decision to look out for those beneath him on the MMA ladder first and foremost.

“Nate spoke about something that makes him a knight in shining armor as far as I’m concerned,” Sonnen said. “He was talking about his negotiation, back and forth, with the UFC. He said they kept coming to him with more and more… what he wanted is he’s got 10 guys, he wants all 10 to have a contract with the UFC. That’s what he wants, he wants to get his guys signed. ‘You do that, you get me.’

“The UFC tried to have a dialogue. They didn’t just shut the book on him. They listened. They respected what he was doing. They respected the respect that he was showing to his crew. It’s a very cool thing… I’ve never heard anyone doing that,” Sonnen continued. “It is very rare when someone looks out for those under you… It’s a great story. It’s a big deal… You wonder why those guys in Stockton are so loyal… That’s who he is. He’s a loyal guy.”

Having not come to an agreement, it appears that Diaz will be headed elsewhere post-UFC 279. Aside from the creation of his own fight promotion, not much has been revealed about the 37-year-old’s plans. But it’s safe to say that the world is his oyster.

Do you agree with Chael Sonnen’s assessment of Nate Diaz’s negotiations with the UFC?

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