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03rd Jan 2017

Joe Rogan explains why the UFC won’t pay Nate Diaz the staggering purse he’s demanding

He's broken the figures down - and they don't add up

Ben Kiely

Nate Diaz doesn’t pick up the phone for less than $20 million these days, but Joe Rogan thinks he’ll have to if he wants to fight again.

With the future of Ronda Rousey up in the air following her 48-second annihilation by Amanda Nunes, Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar currently serving suspensions and Cyborg looking likely to follow suit, Georges St-Pierre unable to sort out his contract and Holly Holm riding a two-fight losing streak, the promotion is running out of huge PPV draws.

Really, the only top-tier marquee fighters they have available are Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz, maybe older brother Nick, and Nunes, although the latter is a bit of an unknown quantity as she’s never had a title fight that wasn’t against a superstar.

McGregor looks likely to sit on the sidelines while he waits for the arrival of his child and even at that, you can’t have him headlining every huge PPV card. He’s only human and an expensive human at that. Nick Diaz, on the other hand, has reportedly turned down a rematch against Robbie Lawler, so it’s unknown when he plans on coming back.

So what about the first man to slay McGregor inside the Octagon? Nate told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani that he’s only interested in returning if the fight is right or they pay him a record-smashing purse.

“I’m only fighting at lightweight for a big fight or $20 million just to take the call. Until then, I’m just living my life.”

Considering the record disclosed payout to a single fighter is $3 million, set by McGregor and matched by Rousey, it seems unlikely that the UFC’s new owners will meet Nate’s demands, especially since they have only just purchased the promotion for $4 billion. That’s what UFC colour commentator Joe Rogan thinks, as he explained on his podcast recapping UFC 207.

“Let’s break this down. Let’s say they do a million pay-per-view buys which is top end. Only a few people have ever sold a million pay-per-view buys like Brock (Lesnar), Ronda (Rousey), Conor (McGregor)… that’s it. A million’s top of the food chain.”

“So a million pay-per-view view buys at 60 bucks, you’re taking one third off the bat for Nate. It’s really hard to justify someone $20 million for a fight. It’s going to be really hard. Conor’s like one of the only guys that can get that kind of money.”

He believes that despite the huge numbers UFC 196 and UFC 202 raked in, Nate still doesn’t have the ability to draw eyes on the same level as the McGregors of the sport. Nate would need the right opponent to demand a purse as high as that, particularly because he doesn’t hold one of those coveted golden straps.

“Here’s the thing, if Nate had a legit fight with someone other than Conor that was exciting. The problem is there’s no one else in the division that’s got that kind of marquee value. I think Nate is a fucking huge dog, especially now. After he beat Conor he was one of the biggest stars outside of that upper echelon pay-per-view level, but he’s not a world title holder right now.”

Diaz may strike gold if the injury curse strikes again in 2017. A couple of main events fall through and they may have to flash the Stockton native the cash in order to save a card.