Chael Sonnen has claimed that Nate Diaz is missing out on a major payday by leaving the UFC and not fighting Conor McGregor once more.
Diaz completed the last outing on his deal with the promotion when he took on Tony Ferguson earlier this month at UFC 279 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fan favorite had been rallying to fight out his contract and finally became a free agent after beating Ferguson. While some theorize it will be better for Diaz from a financial standpoint, Sonnen argues the contrary.
Chael Sonnen claims Nate Diaz is missing out on ‘$12 million’ by leaving the UFC & not taking the third Conor McGregor fight
In an interview with James Lynch for Middle Easy, Sonnen shared his thoughts on Diaz’s departure from the UFC. He claimed Diaz was letting go of a major payday inside the promotion.
“I guess he’s going to boxing. I mean, I can’t imagine the money. He’s probably staring at about $12 million dollars, with MMA math, to go and fight Conor McGregor a third time. I can’t imagine there’s that kind of money, even half of that in boxing. I know that’s the rumor and what we keep getting told. I don’t know how much I believe that it’s true.”
Sonnen is confident that Diaz could return to the promotion sooner than later.
“Nate said he’s going to go back to the UFC. He said, ‘I’m going to go do something else.’ He wasn’t very specific and didn’t elaborate but said he wants to do something else. Then he said, ‘I’m going to come back,’ but like anybody, the clock is ticking. We’ll see.”
Sonnen thinks Diaz might return for a one-off bout
‘The Bad Guy’ suggested that the UFC need not depend on Diaz, whose days of competition are mostly behind him. Having served over 15 years under the banner, a return for Diaz may be likely but not for a long period, according to Sonnen.
“If he did come back, it might be for one more. But there could also be a carve-out opportunity. If his deal’s up when he was to come back to the boss and say, ‘I want to be able to do this. Give me a carve-out but I also want to have a contract with you if you can ever use me’. It’s not as though the UFC could really depend on Nate Diaz. In all fairness, he fought once a year on average over the last five years, twice in really, really busy years.
“They could bring him in, they could have some fun, they could do it on a one-off. I think it’s a unique situation, it’s not sustainable, it’s not a business practice that Dana could turn to. But there could be an exception and that exception could definitely be Nate.”
During the build-up to his last bout, Diaz launched his own fight promotion called Real Fight Inc. Although he has remained cryptic about his plans ahead, Sonnen could foresee a return to the UFC, even if it is for one fight.