Nate Diaz – Time to Hit the High Road
By Christopher Jester
Something must be in the air. Nate Diaz, perennial contender in the UFC’s lightweight division asked for his release on February 26 via Twitter. This somewhat unsurprising move came right on the heels of his teammate Gilbert Melendez gaining a new lucrative contract with the UFC. Is there something else more to this turn of events? Or is Diaz simply tired of fighting for the UFC?
The tweet was posted Wednesday and included Dana White and the UFC’s account stated: “I would like to request to be released from the @ufc. It’s time for me to be on my way ..?”
Diaz and his brother Nick are no strangers to speaking their minds on social media. This could very well be frustration on Nate Diaz’s part who recently also wanted a restructured contract after his victory over Gray Maynard. Dana White refuted the idea of Diaz deserving a new contract, referring to his 1-2 record over his last three fights.
To play devil’s advocate here, Diaz’s campmate Gilbert Melendez had gone 1-1 in the UFC, one being a loss to then champion Benson Henderson. Yet, he received a lucrative deal. In Melendez’s favor, he has been a top-ranked lightweight for years, whereas Diaz had his run to title contention come to an end with a one-sided loss to Benson Henderson.
Now it is worth noting that when the contract disputes between the UFC and Gilbert Melendez began to get rough, Dana White remarked that Melendez should “better start looking elsewhere”. Cesar Gracie in turn hinted that Melendez wouldn’t be the only member of his team to leave the UFC and threatened that others could follow suit to Bellator. We know how that panned out with Melendez, but could this still mean that others are looking for their exit from the largest MMA organization in the world.
From the looks of it, this is the avenue that Diaz and his team have taken in hopes of garnering attention from Bellator. Regardless of losing Gilbert Melendez, Bellator has to be looking to gain something from this other than a bit of publicity. The ideal that the Viacom owned company would be interested in Diaz is not far-fetched. He would bring a fair amount of publicity to Bellator and could easily be a major player in their thin lightweight division.
If anything, the younger Diaz would gain the opportunity at more fights and title opportunities in Bellator. Whether Bellator would be willing to fork over Melendez-type money is another thing entirely. However, Diaz has to be hoping that this plays out as previously mentioned. He has to be careful in tipping his hand, and gaining the ire of UFC President Dana White who is not a fan of how Diaz’s management team handles things.
Diaz will get some love somewhere. Polarizing as he may be, Nick Diaz and his brother are two of the more popular fighters in mixed martial arts. After struggling through the Melendez contract negotiation, will the UFC be as willing as they were in that situation with Nate Diaz? That is the question. This may all be a distraction to gain Bellator’s attention if the UFC respects Diaz’s request and releases him. Unless the UFC lets things cool off for a little bit, Diaz could well be fighting for someone else very soon.
Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka
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