Nate Diaz is all too aware that his welterweight rematch with Conor McGregor at UFC 202 is likely to rival the blockbuster UFC 200 pay-per-view on July 9.
UFC 196, which featured a headlining event between McGregor and Diaz earlier in March, is estimated to have rivalled UFC 100's PPV numbers and Diaz used that to his leverage in negotiations for a rematch.
The Californian's message was clear: Pay me. UFC president Dana White stormed out of negotiations in Stockton and the rematch looked to be in jeopardy. Diaz, however, learned from his menacing older brother Nick and held out. It was eventually announced that the rematch would take place on August 20 and Diaz looked to have crushed any financial talk. Until now.
In a recent interview with Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports, Diaz unloaded on the UFC's fighter pay and said other fighters need to wisen up.
"People will say, ‘I'll fight anybody, I love to fight.' You love to fight? [Expletive] that. People say that. And, yeah, I said that. And I woke up. It takes a lot of fighting to wake up. ‘I'll fight anybody for free? I'll fight anybody?' That's what [the UFC] wants. That's what pads their bottom line. Then I realized, ‘[Expletive] you [expletive], you're playing me.'
"I'd look at my following [on social media] and other peoples' followings and I'd look at the numbers for the Fox shows they were putting me on and I was like, ‘Damn, a lot of people are tuning into these shows.' I was headlining a lot of them back-to-back. I was like, ‘I am bringing in bigger numbers than anybody and I'm not getting the deals. ‘Fox card,' they always said. ‘Free TV, free TV.' I was like, ‘No, it's not free, they have million-dollar deals to put this many shows on Fox and I'm headlining three shows a year? ... Then they are trying to shut me down, shut me up, [saying], ‘He doesn't move the needle.' They are just trying to put that out in the mainstream because then people start saying that and it's true."
The 31-year-old, who had developed a cult-like following prior to his fight with McGregor, exploded as a flagship star when he shocked the world with an upset win in Las Vegas. Diaz had exhausted 'The Notorious' by the second round and eventually locked up a rear-naked choke submission after a swift reversal on the ground.
As a considerable underdog, Diaz said he f----d up the UFC's plans in March and says another win over McGregor at UFC 202 will cause 'trouble' for the 'business'.
"I [expletive] up everyone's plan by winning that fight. I was like, ‘Ha, ha, you [expletives], call me for the next one, you better come with something good.' I don't give a [expletive]. You didn't give me enough money but I come from a place with no money and you give me too much money. I don't give a [expletive] about making more. I am doing better than I was ever supposed to do."
"[The UFC] better hope I don't win this fight because it's going to be a lot of trouble for everybody, in terms of the business. This one coming up, they better hope I don't win this one because the game is going to change."
The highly anticipated pay-per-view, which features McGregor vs. Diaz II in the main event, takes place on August 20 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.