Thursday, September 29, 2022

Helwani: We’re About To Learn If Diaz/UFC Are On Good Terms

MMA journalist Ariel Helwani believes that UFC President Dana White‘s remarks about Nate Diaz‘s departure will be put to the test in the coming weeks and months.

After a triumph on The Ultimate Fighter, 15 years, and 27 fights, Diaz’s Octagon tenure came to a close at UFC 279 in Las Vegas. In the event’s main event, the Stockton star fought out his contract with a fourth-round submission victory over Tony Ferguson, who’d been drafted into the headliner on late notice after Khamzat Chimaev’s 7.5-pound weight miss.

Following his win, Diaz confirmed plans to explore possible ventures outside the UFC during his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.

Despite many suggesting that the promotion’s original Diaz vs. Chimaev booking was done in malice, with the goal being to damage the fan-favorite veteran’s stock ahead of his departure, the UFC president wished Diaz well in his exploits away from the Octagon.

“Me and him had this discussion months ago at the offices. Whatever he moves on to do, I wish him nothing but the best,” White said during the UFC 279 post-fight press conference. “He’s starting his own organization or getting into promoting or doing something else, I wish him nothing but the best of luck. It’s been awesome having him here.”

While those would suggest that the UFC and Diaz have split on somewhat good terms, Helwani believes that will truly be tested as the MMA star enters free agency.

Helwani Asks ‘Will UFC Screw Diaz?’

During the “On The Nose” Q&A section of a recent episode of The MMA Hour, Helwani was asked about the fallout from UFC 279, which will see Diaz pursue opportunities in fresh pastures.

After reiterating what he perceived to be an unfair and unjust plan from the UFC prior to the late card changes last week, Helwani discussed the options that the promotion has in ‘screwing’ Diaz over if they so wish.

According to the Canadian, whether or not the UFC chooses to waive various clauses will answer if Diaz remains on good or bad terms with the organization.

“They (UFC) did not want this. They didn’t want the headache, they didn’t wanna pay more, they didn’t want Nate to win,” Helwani said. “And now we’re gonna see if he’s leaving on good terms or bad terms. Because if he was leaving on good terms, his future plans couldn’t be clearer: he wants to move on, he wants to box. If they’re gonna try to screw him, they could not waive the three-month exclusive period, they could not waive the one year to match… they could let this drag a really long time, if they want.

“If they wanna be good partners, if you will, and say, ‘Thank you for your time. We’re gonna waive everything.’ They could do that, and that was the impression that Dana was giving off on Saturday. But behind the scenes, they don’t have to do that, legally. So we’ll see what kind of terms they’re on and if the door will be left open,” Helwani continued. “If they drag their feet and try to screw him, I assume the door will be closed forever.”

As well as the creation of his own fight promotion, Diaz also hinted towards a dip into the boxing waters down the line, claiming he’ll do what two-time opponent Conor McGregor failed to.

Whatever he ultimately does, Diaz will be doing so off the back of a fairy-tale ending to his UFC stint, and one that looked unlikely at the start of UFC 279 fight week.

Do you agree with Ariel Helwani?

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