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After all his years of service, Nate Diaz is being grossly underpaid by the UFC

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diaz-nateNathan Diaz had to get punched in the face and body more than 100 times last Saturday to make $40,000. Of the main card fighters, he was the second lowest paid athlete, and in fact only made $10,000 more than his opponent, despite his winning effort.

He did manage to pick up an extra $50,000 for his Fight of the Night performance against Michael Johnson, but even still, the lone member of the fighting 209 contingent is grossly underpaid.

It really doesn’t make sense. Though derided by UFC president Dana White as a “non-needle-mover” (further proof that the Egg will say anything to anyone at any time), Diaz is hands down one of the biggest fan favorites still competing today.

With 26 of his 28 professional fights taking place in Zuffa owned organizations, Diaz has spent nearly the entirety of his career in the UFC. During his almost nine-year run, he’s managed to pick up 12 post fight bonus awards, win The Ultimate Fighter season five tournament, compete for the lightweight world title, and take part in five separate UFC main events.

In other words, Nate Diaz is a commodity. Of his 18 professional wins, only three opponents have made it to a decision with him. He finishes people, and humiliates them in the process. Veterans look like amateurs at the end of his punches.

So why is he making less than a public school bus driver to fight trained killers?

While a lump sum of $40,000 sounds great to most of us, you have to take into account the high costs of training. Most managers or agents take a flat 10% of your purse, while gym fees could be another 5-10%. Tack on training partners you may have needed for the camp, not to mention actual cost of living expenses, and you’re left with maybe $15-18,000 to take home.

Making that last over six to eight months would be a nightmare for most people, let alone an athlete with no more than a high school education and no discernible skills outside of choking dudes out.

But this isn’t Nate’s fault. The responsibility of negotiating for a higher purse or getting more marquee match-ups is the type of task that should fall to a professional manager or sports agent. Diaz has never enjoyed that luxury.

Whether it’s because he’s ignorant as to why he needs one, or because he thinks he’s already getting the best he can, Diaz is being criminally underserved right now, especially with the loss of in-cage sponsors.

With three out of his five UFC on FOX appearances garnering millions of viewers, Diaz is one of the few fighters who could command potential six-figure sponsorship contracts if given the right circumstances.

The fact that after a weekend of title fights and heavyweight collisions we’re left talking about a guy who’s 2-3 in his last five stands as a testament to Diaz’ marketability.

He just needs someone to fight for him. A guy with such a rabid fan base and high level of skill and technique shouldn’t have to wonder how he’s going to pay the rent over the next few months.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. GrouchyDog

    December 23, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Don’t like either Diaz, but completely agree with this. Criminal underpayment when one of the Fertittas (I forget which one) is a confirmed billionaire and Dana is not far behind.

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