Nate Diaz‘s manager and UFC President Dana White sparred online today, hours after the UFC boss said the promotion doesn’t have a strong incentive to push the lightweight back to work because he isn’t a “needle-mover.”
Shortly after White’s words surfaced, manager Mike Kogan tweeted, “4.4 mil 3rd highest (ratings), 2.4mil on the night f–king Mayweather fought and Mosley was co-main and 1.2mil on s–t TUF finale don’t move needles?”
The tweet, which referred to ratings for Diaz (17-9 MMA, 12-7 UFC) headliners at UFC on FOX 3, UFC on FOX 5 and The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale, did not include White’s Twitter handle. But the executive responded nonetheless several hours later:
Kogan then responded, “ouch. I remember different. But that’s not a twitter conversation.”
The manager later tweeted a link to a video in which White angrily defended the ratings performance of UFC on FOX 3 and specifically took aim at MMA journalists who said it was a poor showing.
“How soon we forget,” he wrote. Kogan today declined further comment when reached by MMAjunkie.
So ends another chapter in the stalemate between Diaz and the UFC, which now has stretched five months as the fighter holds out for a better contract with the promotion.
“We have our story; they have their story,” Kogan said in a previous interview. “If they are contradicting each other, somewhere in the middle lies the truth. Should I be afraid to speak my mind? I’m not. I don’t work over there, so what do I have to be afraid of? What are they going to do?
“This isn’t f-cking China. I don’t believe this idea that if you speak your mind, the Dana White army is going to come to your house and take away your kids and drive you to the pool house. Tito Ortiz retired from the UFC, and God know’s what he’s done. Our job is to train hard, show up and fight. That’s what Nate does, and I don’t think anybody can question that.”
It seems clear, however, that Diaz, who earlier this year requested his UFC release and has since taken several shots at the promotion and other fighters, is willing to budge on his position. In Dublin for a pre-fight media scrum in support of UFC Fight Night 46, White said the fighter’s discontent came after his longtime training partner and teammate Gilbert Melendez signed a new UFC contract in February after flirting with rival promoter Bellator MMA.
Indeed, Diaz’s request for a release came just days after the announcement of Melendez’s new deal.
“I know he trains with Melendez,” White said. “But Melendez is one of the top guys in the world. He’s the No. 1 ranked guy in the world, next in line for a title shot, (and) he’s a former world champion. Nate has absolutely nothing like that on his resume, and he’s 1-3 in his last few fights.”
Of course, the UFC historically has been willing to overlook a fighter’s record if he’s a draw at the box office. Most famously, the now-retired Chael Sonnen received a shot at the light heavyweight title despite a previous pair of losses to now-former middleweight champ Anderson Silva.
And just today, White said Gina Carano could receive an immediate title shot against women’s bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey despite being inactive for five years and receiving a first-round drubbing in her most recent fight, against Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino.
But according to the UFC figurehead, it’s the now-retired Nick Diaz, not Nate Diaz, who is worthy of concessions and added urgency in putting together a new deal.
Asked whether Donald Cerrone, who lost opponent Khabib Nurmagomedov almost soon as he was booked for UFC 178, might now get a rematch at the younger Diaz, who bested him in 2011, White scoffed, “C’mon, you guys. Ridiculous.”
“He isn’t a needle-mover,” White added. “I love Nate Diaz. Nate Diaz is actually one of my favorite kids. I always got along with Nate. Nate was always great. (But) lowest rated FOX show ever.”
White likely was referring to UFC on FOX 3, which was headlined by Diaz and Jim Miller and drew an average of 2.4 million viewers despite strong showings in key demographics. But in fact, UFC on FOX 4 virtually tied the May 2012 event in average viewers with 2.44 million, while UFC on FOX 8 drew a final average of 2.38 million.
And yet, according to White, “Lowest rated FOX show ever. He doesn’t pull the numbers in. Nick (Diaz) is a needle mover. Nick moves the needle. [Nate] doesn’t pull good numbers. Both of his fights didn’t pull good numbers.
“It seems like he’s popular when you’re looking on f–cking Twitter and some websites. But the real numbers tell the truth. We know who moves needles and who doesn’t move needles. If Nate Diaz was a massive needle-mover – he was just asking me, ‘How about (UFC CEO) Lorenzo (Fertitta calling him)?’ We’d have called him. He’d be on the phone, we’d be figuring it out, and we’d work it out. He doesn’t move the needle.”
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