Posted 05/28/2014 by McKinley Noble in UFC

Nick Diaz Could Learn a Lesson From Robbie Lawler

UFC contender Robbie Lawler should be the envy of all welterweight MMA fighters.

Despite a somewhat average-at-a-glance 8-4 UFC record (and a worse-looking 3-5 Strikeforce record to boot), this 13-year veteran is sitting at the top of the 170-pound division, having earned over half a million dollars in disclosed salary alone for three of his last four fights.

To be exact, that’s somewhere north of $572,000 in less than a year, counting his $50,000 “Fight of Night” bonus at UFC 171.

Not only is Lawler earning a steady paycheck and enjoying the fruits of his athletic prime, he’s already positioned himself for even greater heights. Just today, UFC president Dana White announced Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown at UFC on Fox 12, adding to an already massively-packed summer of great fights. That’s another six figures, another possible title shot, and another main event spot for Lawler, all in just 366 days.

To quote Dana, HOLY SHIT.

It’s just too bad Nick Diaz isn’t making that kind of money.

Last April, we recapped the 10-year anniversary of UFC 47, where then-prospect Diaz clobbered fan-favorite Lawler in a major upset, kickstarting the golden boy’s exit from the UFC. For a tantalizing few weeks, it seemed like we were on the verge of a rematch, too. Lawler had just lost an instant-classic of a battle to Johny Hendricks, and despite the thought of a second run at Hendricks, fans were actually champing at the bit for the UFC to get Diaz back into the title picture.

Alas, the opportunity was missed.

Fast-forward a couple months later, and Diaz is still “retired,” rambling through interviews or hanging out in the stands at UFC events. (H/T @LayzieTheSavage)

It’s just such a waste.

Sure, Diaz has the right to claim that he wants to get paid more money and hold out on the UFC for a better contract. He’s an adult and that’s his choice. But it doesn’t seem to be getting him anywhere.

(Nor Nate, for that matter.)

Not only is the UFC unlikely to pay Nick Diaz a flat $500,000 per fight out of the blue (via Bloody Elbow), but the company also doesn’t need him around right now.

Could they use the pay-per-view bump from putting Diaz in main-event bouts? Of course. Would MMA fans pay to see it? Definitely. Is Dana White going to give Diaz that kind of leverage?

Of course not.


“Hey, Nick! ‘Remember this? You’re gonna need it at some point, you fucking goof.”


Few companies are as tight-fisted and tight-lipped about employee pay as the UFC, and giving in to Diaz just opens the flood gates.

If it’s a choice between higher salary costs or no Diaz, they’ll bench him forever.

Again, it’s a damn shame that Diaz’s UFC career has suffered of lately such poor management. If he had a better team around him, he’d probably (maybe) be fighting for a title right now. At the very least, he might still be cashing those $200,000 flat-rate checks he was getting as a UFC headliner.

Moreover, his team and fight camp could learn something from Robbie Lawler, who’s been doing everything he can to maximize the time he’s got left in the sport.

If Diaz had the sense to finish his current contract, who knows what he’d be getting paid. Maybe a cool $500,000 wouldn’t be quite so far out of his reach. And at this point, Diaz risks being on the biggest downturn of his career if he ever comes back, getting on the wrong side of 30 years old with 15 months of ring rust (and counting).

He needs to come back into the fold before it’s too late.

Fans definitely miss the Stocktonian, but at this rate, he’ll be a mere afterthought sooner than we think.


McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist. His work has appeared in NVisionBleacher Report, PC World, Macworld, GamePro, 1UP, MMA Mania and The L.A. Times. Follow him at @KenTheGreat1 on Twitter.

McKinley Noble