Nick Diaz has made the decision to remain completely retired from fighting unless the UFC offers him a title shot or a big-money fight.
MMAFighting’s Dave Doyle tweeted Wednesday that UFC President Dana White was still waiting to hear back from Diaz after offering him a bout against welterweight contender Hector Lombard.
“I tried to make Nick and Lombard,” White said, according to MMAFighting.com. “Nick and I talked, and I haven’t heard back from him, he went MIA.”
Just hours after news broke of the fight offer, Diaz emerged from the shadows to explain why he hasn’t returned White’s text:
I never considered anything other than to renegotiate my contract or fight Johny Hendricks. All I said was, What am I getting paid? And he said, Let me check your contract. And the last text I got from him was what I would be fighting for. I didn't consider fighting for that kind of money. I didn't say anything back to him, right, but usually that means something. I'm not considering even for a second fighting any of those guys for less than $500,000. There's no way.
Diaz officially retired from fighting a little over a year ago after going 0-2 in back-to-back UFC title bouts against Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit.
In December, St-Pierre announced that he would be vacating the UFC welterweight title and going on an indefinite hiatus. The champ’s early exit from the UFC left a gaping hole in a division full of world-class talent but not pay-per-view stars.
With St-Pierre out of the picture, Diaz could just waltz right in and assume the position as the UFC’s biggest draw at 170 pounds. There were murmurings of Diaz possibly facing the winner of the Hendricks and Robbie Lawler title bout at UFC 171. The UFC even offered up the red-carpet treatment and courted Diaz at the event.
It all seemed like a done deal. Diaz even went the extra mile by heckling Hendricks during the weigh-ins and on fight night, playing up a potential feud for the media.
Surprisingly, the Stockton native’s attempts to pull off the hat trick and talk his way into another UFC title fight were in vain. White wasn’t just going to hand Diaz a golden ticket for a third straight time.
After watching Hendricks edge out Lawler by decision, Diaz returned home that night fully content with never fighting again.
Diaz told MMAFighting, “I'm retired. Completely retired. Unless the UFC wants to renegotiate for something I'm happy with or I'm going to be fighting for the world title, which is obviously going to be for something I'm happy with because I'll make a ton of money.”
Perhaps the most difficult notion to grasp about Diaz is the fact that he never wanted to fight in the first place. Fighting chose him, not the other way around. We see it all the time in other sports. Just because an athlete is particularly talented in a sport doesn’t mean they love competing.
Money is Diaz’s primary motivation for fighting, and he has never denied or shied away from that notion. Could it be that there has been a simpler answer behind Diaz’s controversial antics all along?
For years, the MMA world has watched Diaz buck authority, flip off fans and drop more f-bombs than Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction. There have been many vain attempts to try to understand and make sense of the character that is Nick Diaz, but perhaps the answer has been right in front of us all along.
Diaz never loved fighting:
I'm not in love with fighting. I never was. That's crazy. I don't love to fight; I don't want to fight. I get my ass beat more when I win a fight than when I lose. I know you don't want to get your ass beat. I feel the same way. I feel the exact same way about retirement. I could give a f--k. I'm not going backwards in this sport ever, especially in pay. Why would I? To get my ass whooped? No. I would rather work at Wal-Mart.
Fighting is no longer an obligation for Diaz, who has made more than enough money to ride off into the sunset.
If forced to choose between getting punched in the face and retirement, Diaz seems more than happy to finish out the rest of his days soaking up the California sun and signing autographs
“I have enough money to buy a nice house, do some gigs, save some money. I feel like this whole popularity thing keeps escalating, too. It's weird. Everywhere I go, I get stopped. If I make eye contact with someone, they're like, Whoa, you're Nick Diaz! So I could do signings for a while,” said Diaz.
The UFC can either pay up, hand Diaz a title shot or move on from a surefire pay-per-view draw. White has a big decision to make.
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon.