On April 20, 2013 UFC lightweight Nate Diaz fought Josh Thompson, and lost, earning a disclosed purse of just $15,000. There was undoubtedly a locker room bonus, but he wasn’t getting rich.
When you lose in the UFC, your contracted pay stays the same. Next fight was a win over Gray Maynard. Diaz’s contract paid him $30,000.
Then the UFC signed his Cesar Gracie teammate Gil Melendez after a bidding war with Bellator. Gil’s contract guaranteed 75% of his fights would be on PPV, with a threshhold lower than any fighter in league history. El Nino’s show money his very first fight was $175,000. Melendez won only one of his five fights since, a decision over Diego Sanchez.
Diaz apparently learned what his teammate was making, and asked to be released from contract. At one point he was pulled from the UFC rankings.
Diaz finally fought again, vs. Rafael Dos Anjos. His contracted income had now escalated to $20,000 to show and $20,000. Diaz lost, and was fined 20% of his purse for missing weight, so made $16,000. That was his sole fight in 2014.
Then Diaz beat Michael Johnson in a Fight of the Night, making him 20+20+50. $90,000 seems like a lot of money, but it was his sole fight in 2015, and you have to back out management and trainer percentages, taxes, other training expenses, and more.
His older brother Nick lamented every getting him into fighting.
Then Nate was on a boat in Cabo, doing a tequila shot, when he got a phone call. Do you want to fight Conor McGregor at UFC 196, a week from Saturday?
Nate did, and won, and UFC president Dana White said he made over $2,000,000 for what was reportedly the biggest PPV in league history. Diaz’s team negotiated quite hard for the rematch, which too was one of the biggest PPVs ever. Diaz lost a controversial majority decision, but reportedly made more that $2,000,000 more at UFC 202.
A lot more.
A trilogy fight is a natural. However, Diaz appeared recently on Chael Sonnen’s You’re Welcome podcast and said he initially wanted a rematch right away, but upon reflection, not so much.
“I don’t know,” said Diaz, as transcribed by Jim Edwards for FloCombat. “Do you remember last time they rushed to his house the next morning and said he was all obsessed or whatever? I was pretty crazy about it for a couple of days, but it’s whatever to me, you know? I won that fight and I’m not jumping for joy already for round three. I think I beat him twice, so it’s 2-0 as far as I’m concerned. It might get made down the road, I don’t know.
“I believe they know too, because he’s got a smart coach on his hands. Him and his coach know what happened in the fight and they aren’t stupid, so I think they are going to do what they can to return to his division and get onto a new stage.”
“Nick is my fearless leader, so I do whatever Nick tells me to do. But yeah, I don’t know what’s going on with him right now. I don’t know what Nick is doing. I’m just going to enjoy the rest of the summer.
“Nick is the leader, so if he told me to fight Joe Blowoff, then I’d fight him. I’m a soldier. I’m a soldier, man, and that’s the general.”
Diaz did concede that coach Richard Perez was trying to get him back in the gym.
“Oh yeah, he’s nuts,” said Diaz. “He’s already barking at my door, saying, ‘Let’s work out. Let’s train.’ I got to avoid him for a little bit, you know? I’m just going to enjoy this summer and keep doing what I’m doing. I’ll be going to meet some people with my brother out in [Los Angeles] soon, and then I’m going to go to some concerts and stuff, so I’ll be doing that just to kill some time. We are going to do some more races before the end of the season also.”
Diaz’s team will be negotiating the trilogy fight with the new WME-IMG owners, but ever old school, Diaz hopes to negotiate as the always has.
“I usually deal with Dana and Lorenzo with my management–I usually get a lot of stuff done with Dana,” said Diaz. “There was a lot of friendly stuff going on, but it was hard for me to recognize because I was fighting. I had a lot on [my mind] but I saw there was a bunch of different people around, but I didn’t see much because I was more paying attention to the fight.
“I didn’t meet the new guys, and I didn’t see them or anything. I don’t think they were even there. They weren’t on the scene. So no, I’ve not seen anything, but I look forward to meeting them and see[ing] who’s doing what and what’s what.”