Nate Diaz takes battle with UFC in stride

Perry
Perry Bergson
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Nate Diaz says he knows exactly why many MMA fans have a passionate loyalty to all things Diaz.

The Stockton, Calif., fighter, who along with brother Nick are among the UFC’s most popular mixed martial artists when they are active, says people respond to the real thing.

“You get what you see,” Diaz says. “A lot of these guys, they contradict themselves a lot and kind of put on a front. We have the realistic-type fans.”

His brother hasn’t fought since March of 2013 and says he’s retired, although many Diaz fans are holding out hope for a return.

Nate Diaz was in Prince Albert on Saturday at Stellar Gear in the Gateway Mall for an autograph and picture session with fans. Some were clearly starstruck by the 29-year-old fighter, who is 17-9 in his MMA career and won season five of The Ultimate Fighter back in 2007.

He’s no longer surprised by the reactions, which can occur in locales well off the MMA radar.

“That happens in a lot of places where we go, a lot of places I go anyway,” he says. “You don’t think there’s anything out there and then there’s a whole line of people out the door. It’s pretty cool.”

He does some seminars and visits when he’s not fighting.

Diaz has time now because he has made it clear to the UFC via Twitter and interviews that he’s not going back in the cage until his current eight-fight deal is renegotiated. He’s three fights into the contract, which was signed in 2012.

The UFC’s mercurial president, Dana White, addressed the issue last Wednesday on UFC Tonight.

“You saw what’s happened on Twitter and all of these things,” White said. “He wants to be released, he wants to be paid more money, he wants all this stuff. He just signed a new contract."

The latest gambit came last week when the profiles of Diaz and injured Canadian fighter T.J. Grant were removed from the UFC’s website, which set the MMA community abuzz online.

“I think it’s kind of a joke,” Diaz says. “They’re kind of on a power trip and think that they can scam me into doing whatever they want. Whatever. I know where I stand and who I’ve beaten and I think a lot of people do. I don’t see how. It doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t even faze me. It’s a little silly if you ask me.”

White told UFC Tonight that the profile was removed because of Diaz’s inactivity.

If it’s an attempt to intimidate the fighter, Diaz is having none of it. He says he hasn’t had any recent contact with the UFC and seems determined to stay the course.

“I’m just sitting back and watching it all go down, waiting for a good fight and to get my money right and get this show on the road,” he says, adding he would like to fight as soon as possible.

When asked if it’s difficult as a fighter not to be fighting, he was quick to respond.

“It’s not too tough not to be fighting,” he says. “Fighting is a rough sport and a lot of work. It’s whatever. I’m cruising, rolling with life.”

He has been to Canada a number of times, including UFC 129, which took place in Toronto’s Rogers Centre and remains the largest event in North American MMA history. He lost a decision to Canadian fighter Rory MacDonald that night.

Diaz’s UFC record now stands at 12-7, with his last fight a TKO victory in November of 2013 that completed a trilogy with Gray Maynard.

Diaz is currently the ninth ranked lightweight (155 pounds) fighter in the world at Sherdog, which is widely considered one of the authorities in the sport.

Until it’s time to climb back into the cage, Diaz says he is content to remain active in his own way.

“I’m just training and staying busy, and like I said, waiting for something to get right and then I’m ready to go.”

Organizations: Prince Albert, UFC, Stellar Gear

Geographic location: Saskatoon, Prince Albert

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  • blakemp
    May 14, 2014 - 18:12

    That was a great article and excellent interview. It's really good to see that Nate's aware of the UFC's manipulative tactics. Removing him from the rankings was just disgusting, but at least Nate is standing firm. It might've taken a little while, but he finally realized he was getting screwed and I hope MMA fans support him.