At UFC 279 earlier this month, Diaz defeated Tony Ferguson in the last fight of his UFC contract. Post-fight, the 37-year-old declared that he wanted to “show all these UFC fighters how to take over and own up another sport,” with many interpreting that to mean boxing Jake Paul.
Diaz also professed his “love” for the UFC and that he intends to return one day to claim a title. While he’s yet to publicly declare his interest in signing for a rival MMA organization, Bellator CEO Scott Coker claims to already be in talks with Nate.
“We are definitely talking to him. We’ve reached out,” Coker said. “I know he’s probably talking to everybody. He’s in a pretty good situation. I know he wants to fight Jake Paul. Jake Paul is fighting Anderson Silva on Showtime pay-per-view, which is our home network, so there’s some synergies here. We’re just hoping that we could have some type of deal to at least have his MMA fights with Bellator. So we are in dialogue.”
Ariel Helwani Refutes Scott Coker’s Claim
While Coker seems absolutely certain that Bellator is currently in dialogue with Diaz, Helwani says that simply isn’t possible. The MMA Hour host tweeted that Diaz’s UFC contract includes a three-month negotiation period with the UFC, precluding him from talking to other promotions.
“A note on any story about a promoter/promotion talking to Nathan Diaz right now: don’t believe it. Not true. It’s actually illegal. Diaz is in an exclusive three-month negotiation period with the UFC. Meaning he can’t talk to anyone. And he hasn’t talked to anyone,” tweeted Helwani.
Ariel also pointed out that this clause isn’t exclusive to Diaz, but a standard feature of any UFC contract.
“This is standard procedure, [by the way]. Every UFC deal has this baked in. So, unless they [waive] it, which they have in the past, there’s no talking to anyone out there. And they haven’t waived it,” tweeted Helwani.
So, we may have to wait a few months until we see Nate sign off on his next venture—and there’s been plenty of speculation as to what that will look like. Many, of course, believe a boxing match with Jake Paul is the most likely scenario, however some believe Diaz could also explore options with the WWE and even in the grappling world.
What’s your take on Helwani refuting claims that Diaz is already testing free agency?