Despite a lengthy list of interesting welterweight fights for Nick Diaz in Strikeforce it appears that Diaz is looking to move outside the cage and into the boxing ring at some point this year. Diaz has been quite vocal as of late about his displeasure with the money that MMA is bringing him (a recent decision to re-up with Strikeforce may not have been the smartest decision to rectify that situation, but that's a story for another time). He has also been drooling over the money that boxers make. Franklin McNeil recently covered Diaz's desire to box:
Diaz is itching to box, and although he recently re-signed with Strikeforce (according to his trainer, Cesar Gracie), the deal includes a clause that allows Diaz to compete in a boxing match this year.
And Diaz is expected to exercise that clause. Facing a recognizable boxer can potentially land Diaz the largest paycheck of his career.
"In boxing, when you're a superstar, you get millions of dollars," Gracie told ESPN.com. "In MMA, you're not making that kind of money.
"We're in negotiations right now with [boxing promoter] Don Chargin. We would very much like to take a boxing match. It would probably be at super middleweight [168 pounds].
"There have been a few names kicked around. One of them is Fernando Vargas, another is Ricardo Mayorga."
While it's not out of the question that a boxing match would be the biggest payday of Diaz's career I think he's sorely mistaken if he's expecting to take home a ton of money. Despite some fighters making absurd money in boxing those are almost always relevant, top-level fighters and based on a number of factors. Vargas hasn't fought since 2007 (a decision loss to Mayorga) and is far removed from his status as a draw. Mayorga fought once in 2010 and is scheduled to get drubbed by Miguel Cotto in March. Vargas is a "maybe" in the "could Diaz win a boxing match?" discussion while Mayorga is a "no."
But back to the pay, let's turn to an article by John Chavez at The Boxing Truth:
U.S. based promoters rely on domestic television revenue, live gate revenue, and sponsorships to pay their prize-fighter's purses.
The television revenue usually comes in the form of a fee paid by premium networks, HBO or Showtime in order to broadcast the event. There are different tiers of fees paid by these outlets based on what series the boxing events will take place on. On HBO there is WCB (World Championship Boxing) and B.A.D. (Boxing After Dark), for Showtime there is Showtime Championship Boxing and Shobox. The amount of fees paid for the different tiers of events varies widely as usually events of the "Championship" variety garner well over one million dollars while the amount paid for B.A.D. and Shobox tend to reside at under $500,000. In Shobox's case, that figure is usually under $100,000.
One would have to figure that this would be a Showtime card and it absolutely would not be a pay-per-view or Showtime Championship Boxing which means you'd expect it to be somewhere between $500k and $100k that the network pays and not all that money makes it to the main event fighters as the undercard has to get paid and the promoters take a portion of the fee. Given that Mayorga was suing Don King over a contract that said he'd make $400,000 a fight, I doubt he's going to take $30k to fight Nick Diaz in a fight that does nothing for his career.
If Vargas is looking to make a comeback he may be willing to take a small payday just to get his name back in the public eye, but I wonder if Showtime would even make an offer for a Vargas/Diaz fight.
Regardless, I'm not sure that the money is out there for Diaz to make more than the $50k (purse only, not including sponsors) he made against KJ Noons or the reported $100k he made fighting Zaromskis simply because of the myth that all boxers take home absurd paychecks. The draw in a boxing match is going to be the boxer and no established boxer is taking a 50/50 split to fight someone who doesn't advance their career.
It's probably best for Diaz to fight out his Strikeforce deal and try to make the move to the UFC if he truly wants to make more money with his fists.