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

Watch Animated Versions of Conor McGregor and Rocky Balboa Bar Fight with Nate Diaz and Dana White

  • 2 days ago
  • 74 views

As if we needed a reason to get any more hyped for Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor 2, in comes another reason. read news >>

Conor McGregor Confident He’ll Toy with Nate Diaz… Again

  • 27 days ago
  • 168 views

Call him brash or call him crazy, but Conor McGregor believes he is going to toy with Nate Diaz in their rematch at UFC 202. read news >>

Conor McGregor Promises to 'Toy With' Nate Diaz in UFC 202 Rematch

  • 27 days ago
  • 50 views

If people thought Conor McGregor would change after just one slice of humble pie, they were wrong. With McGregor slated to face Nate Diaz at UFC 202 in a rematch, the UFC featherweight champion prove read news >>

Lobov Faces Avila at UFC 202

  • 21 days ago
  • 4 views

Before Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor renew their rivalry in the main event of UFC 202 on August 20 in Las Vegas, two of their teammates will square off, as Octagon newcomer Chris Avila takes on read news >>

Brock Lesnar: WWE vs MMA Training ‘Not Even on the Same Planet’ (Audio)

  • 18 days ago
  • 23 views

Brock Lesnar was recently asked to compare the conditioning needed for WWE versus MMA and said that there was no comparison. read news >>

How Nate Diaz turned the UFC upside down (Yahoo Sports)

  • 18 days ago
  • 29 views

From Yahoo Sports: Diaz came from nothing and now has plenty. But he didn't get to this point immediately, or with luck. It took some self-realization and business smarts. read news >>

How Nate Diaz used his mind to turn the UFC upside down (Yahoo Sports)

  • 18 days ago
  • 86 views

From Yahoo Sports: Diaz came from nothing and now has plenty. But he didn't get to this point immediately, or with luck. It took some self-realization and business smarts. read news >>

VIDEO: Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor Face-Off Gets Heated… Again

  • 16 days ago
  • 29 views

When Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz squared off after at the UFC 202 press conference, it was once again all Dana White could do to keep them apart. read news >>

Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor React to Jon Jones’ UFC 200 Removal (Video)

  • 16 days ago
  • 746 views

UFC 202 headliners Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor react to Jon Jones being removed from UFC 200 during a press conference on Thursday. Diaz' reaction was, "Everybody's on steroids." read news >>

Who Gets Hurt by Brock Lesnar's Possible Anti-Doping Violation?

  • 7 days ago
  • 42 views

Brock Lesnar’s return was exactly what UFC 200 needed. Even more so than the UFC could have ever imagined thanks to the fight week drama surrounding Jon Jones, per Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com. And his read news >>