Nate Diaz and the Quandary of Being Just Good Enough Not to Be Needed

Nate Diaz is exciting.

Nate Diaz is entertaining.

Nate Diaz is beloved.

Those are almost mathematically proven truths in the UFC, premises on which any argument relevant to the promotion or the sport could be strongly made.

Here's another: Nate Diaz is not needed.

Fans, media and even other fighters might not love that fact. They might not enjoy coming to grips with the reality that Diaz could be gone from the UFC tomorrow and it wouldn't really change anything, but it is indeed a reality.

The promotion proved as much in handling Diaz's recent game of contractual chicken, one where he swore he'd never fight for them again without a substantial pay raise.

There's no evidence that raise ever came, yet Diaz is ready to return to action if Dana White is to be believed. That's a tenuous proposition, admittedly, given White's history of advertising Diaz in positions he hasn't agreed to or lambasting him for things he may or may not have actually said.

Let's take it at face value, though. If the UFC says it and no one is out there to correct it or temper it with an alternate take, we basically have to.

That's a harsh truth of the game, one that's been founded on three letters and a bullheaded commitment to putting those letters above all else. Yes, as far as White and the Fertittas are concerned, U-F-C is the star and the guys in the cage are the supporting cast.

Diaz is part of that cast, and that cast is interchangeable. He's as expendable as Jon Fitch or Jake Shields were before him, even if the promotion enjoys his antics and style more than they did the others.

Sure, there are fighters that could push the envelope and get paid. Some, like Gilbert Melendez, have. The UFC could never do without Jon Jones or Ronda Rousey at this point. It's having a hard time doing without Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva.

The problem is that Diaz is a step below those individuals in terms of stardom or success, or both, and that makes him a prime guy to be made an example of.

Don't like your contract? Sit out forever, we don't care. We're the UFC and we're bigger than one fighter, we don't need you.

Who makes sense for Nate Diaz's return fight?

That's the answer Diaz is getting, because he's not a champion and he's not enough of a draw to cost the UFC money by making a stand. It's not the answer that a proper superstar would get (though White would likely never admit that in public), but those fighters live on different terms.

Therein lies the quandary for Diaz: He's only good enough to not be needed. For all the bluster his protest caused, nothing really changed in the UFC. They waited him out, but they easily could have released him to Bellator or WSOF and not much would have been different.

People might have said they'd never watch again, comment sections and messageboards might have blown up for a day or two, but at the end of the day people would have kept on buying pay-per-views and tuning into FOX the same as always.

In some ways that's truly horrible. Even if Diaz signed the deal himself, one can't help but feel some sympathy for a guy trying to break a little off and being completely stomped on by a corporate giant for his efforts.

But that's the nature of the beast. That's the way the UFC has built its business, and its the game every fighter plays when he signs with them. Your brand can be whatever it becomes, but more than likely it's not going to be a brand that the UFC can't live without.

That generally means you're a guy who's exciting, entertaining and beloved, something of a star in your own corner of the sports world, who has to do it exactly like the rest of us: get up and go to work, even if you don't really want to.

It's the quandary of being just good enough to not be needed, and it's exactly why Nate Diaz will be back in the cage before you know it without a thing to show for his absence.

Follow me on Twitter @matthewjryder!

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Conor McGregor Wants Nate Diaz, So He Came Up with Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar

  • 26 days ago
  • 198 views

While Conor McGregor focuses on exacting his revenge upon Nate Diaz, he says it was his idea for Jose Aldo to fight Frankie Edgar for the interim belt. read news >>

Dana White Declares Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz in Jeopardy, Might Have to Move On

  • 25 days ago
  • 20 views

Dana White on Thursday admitted that, with Nate Diaz negotiations stalling out, Conor McGregor may have to move on from his desire for a rematch. read news >>

Dana White Talks About Problems in Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz Negotiations

  • 24 days ago
  • 530 views

UFC President Dana White has had some problems negotiating recently with two of the UFC's biggest fighters. UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor, perhaps the most famous fighter in MMA today, se read news >>

Watch Nate Diaz Hit Dana White with the ‘Stockton Slap’

  • 22 days ago
  • 28 views

Well, looks like Dana White and Nate Diaz are getting along. So much that Dana's letting Nate smack that hell out of him. read news >>

Dana White Gets 'Hit' with the 'Stockton Slap' from Nate Diaz in Video

  • 22 days ago
  • 20 views

Nate Diaz is closer to stepping back inside the Octagon, and part of getting the deal done appears to be slapping Dana White. Warning: Video contains NSFW lyrics. Diaz posted the video to Instagram o read news >>

Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor II Announced for UFC 202: Latest Comments, Reaction

  • 22 days ago
  • 36 views

After plenty of posturing by all parties involved, the UFC confirmed Saturday night Conor McGregor will return to the Octagon for a rematch with Nate Diaz, per UFC commentator Jon Anik. The two will read news >>

Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 2 Booked for UFC 202 on August 20

  • 22 days ago
  • 17 views

The highly anticipated rematch between Nate Diaz and featherweight champion Conor McGregor has been signed to take place at UFC 202 on August 20. read news >>

Report: ‘Kimbo Slice’ Needed Heart Transplant, Died of Heart Failure

  • 19 days ago
  • 209 views

Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson was hospitalized three days before his June 6 death and diagnosed with heart failure. read news >>

Rafael Dos Anjos Talks Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz Before Eddie Alvarez UFC Fight

  • 6 days ago
  • 138 views

UFC Lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos thinks a future fight with Conor McGregor would be “easy money” for him. The Brazilian title-holder was speaking ahead of his upcoming bout with Eddie Alvare read news >>

Dana White Explains that ‘Stockton Slap’ Video He Made with Nate Diaz

  • 4 days ago
  • 87 views

Dana White explains how that "Stockton Slap" video with Nate Diaz became a thing. read news >>