Stop me if you’ve heard this before: a Diaz brother is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. It seems another member of the vaunted Skrap Pack is looking to get paid.

Nate Diaz took to Twitter a few days ago to ask the UFC to release him. Diaz believes it’s time for him to go his own way. But Diaz isn’t going his own way this time. Instead, he’s following in the footsteps of his teammate, Gilbert Melendez.

Melendez was in the midst of a bitter contract dispute and had UFC President Dana White at the point where he figuratively threw his hands in the air in defeat. Melendez agreed to terms on a contract with Bellator MMA. That news created quite a stir in the MMA community. Bellator has signed plenty of UFC guys, but that was always when those fighters were on the tail-end of their careers. Never before had the promotion signed away a top-five UFC talent that was still in the prime of their career.

But as many waves as Melendez made with his Bellator deal, he one-upped himself by then resigning with the UFC. Not only did Melendez get a nice bump in pay, but he also received a gig coaching on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite UFC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis. Furthermore, he will fight Pettis for the lightweight strap later this year.

Melendez represented a change in the culture of MMA by showing that top fighters could hit the open market in an attempt to increase their income. Now, Diaz looks to do the same. However, there are a few problems with Diaz going this route.

Although he hasn’t been nearly the headache that his brother has been, Nate has still had his moments where he has been difficult for the UFC to work with. Remember when Diaz said he had more important things to do than fight Gray Maynard? Diaz has also been very vocal about his desire to fight for a title despite going 1-1 since he was outclassed by then-champ Benson Henderson. Not only has Nate been difficult to work with, but so too have his training partners. Diaz will suffer from a “guilty by association” mindset so long as he works with Cesar Gracie and the Skrap Pack.

There’s also the fact that Diaz is nowhere near the as large an asset as Melendez. Yes, Diaz can sell anyone on a fight given his trash-talking skills, but he’s not a top-five caliber fighter right now. Melendez isn’t a big draw, but if Bellator had signed him coming off that “Fight of the Year” candidate with Diego Sanchez, it would’ve been a huge steal for MMA’s second-best promotion. Signing Diaz would make a much smaller splash than a signing like Melendez.

Would the UFC miss Diaz? Sure. He is a good self-promoter and puts on exciting fights even when he’s losing. But the UFC lightweight division has been one of the most stacked divisions recently, and it wouldn’t take much for the UFC to build up another fighter. Guys like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Rafael dos Anjos, Benson Henderson, T.J. Grant and Melendez are all within grasp of a title fight. That’s not even including the guys who are outside the top 10 on their way up in the rankings.

You can’t blame Diaz for trying to up his wages. Anyone would take a chance to bump up their pay rate, after all. But going about it on a social media site and so soon after one of his teammates utilized a similar tactic isn’t good form.

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.

  • me

    Nate diaz is a way better figther than gilbert. gilbert melendez hasn’t finished anybody in the ufc. He didn’t even dominate the other fighters. Nate / and nick always comes to fight. Win or lose they will keep coming forward keep swinging for the knockout. Ufc would rather keep loud mouth chael sonnan. Maybe he needs to go cuz he fights once a year. Too many ufc fighters how can they make money fighting once a year.

  • Joe Landa

    I THINK you have it wrong, who knows. But I think that because Nate and Gilbert are such good friends (since being teenagers), and Nate truly believes that Gil will be the LW champion, Nate wants to go into a different organization and go for the belt. His brother Nick has held the Strikeforce, WEC, and IFC championships (Should have had Pride and EliteXC belts as well), his teammate Melendez has held the WEC and Strikeforce belts (In my opinion should have the UFC belt as well), and teammate Shields has held the Strikeforce, Shooto, & EliteXC belts, and I think Nate just wants to be champion somewhere. If Melendez will hold the LW belt, it eliminates Nate from challenging for it.

    • Jason Schielke

      Melendez had his chance and failed. But it looks like he’s getting another chance against Pettis now that he landed the gig on TUF. Nate may want a chance at a belt, but let’s be honest here–he’s not going to be able to compete with the top-tier at lightweight. Nate is who he is and that’s an entertaining fighter. If he wants to leave and take a huge pay cut for an arbitrary title with another organization, all power to him.

      • Joe Landa

        Pay cut? Nate’s base pay from the UFC is 15K to show… Bellator would easily offer him 50K to show, he would be the highlight of Bellator, not a cheap toy for the UFC

        • Jason Schielke

          I don’t want to be that guy, but you have no clue what Bellator would be willing to offer Nate. I have no clue what Bellator would be willing to offer him.

          Also, you have to consider the loss in sponsorship money. More people watch UFC PPV’s than watch Bellator on Spike. And you have to remember that the $15k is the disclosed pay. If you remember when the UFC and Randy Couture were going through their legal battle, we all found out that fighters make much more than the pay that is disclosed to the various athletic commissions.

          • Joe Landa

            Nate Diaz is in 3rd place for most UFC post fight bonuses. In my opinion that means he is the 3rd most exciting fighter in the UFC. 15k base pay is a slap in the face. Maynard received 40k base pay for his fight with Nate. UFC is screwing him, and he would be one of the biggest star in Bellator… He would also bring an ENTIRE fan base to Bellator. Me included.

          • Richard

            Nate took a signing bonus upfront for lower pay over the length of his contract. Do you really think Nate would accept a $35,000 pay cut per fight on his new contract?

  • Jason Schielke

    Does any fighter ever win a battle with the UFC? Maybe in the past the answer was yes, but the talent pool in every division, sans the woman’s division(s) is so deep that one fighter leaving would just give the opportunity to another up-and-coming fighter to shine. So yes, there is no way Nate wins this battle.