Jorge Masvidal likes to project the image of a competitor who will take any fight, anywhere, against anyone. Give him a dotted line and he’ll sign it. To back that kind of attitude up, ‘Gamebred’ most recently made waves in the MMA world when he picked up two felony charges for reportedly attacking Colby Covington outside a Miami Beach steak house.
On a recent episode of the MMA Hour, Masvidal hit on a whole range of topics. One of which included another notable MMA ‘bad boy,’ Nate Diaz. Diaz has been campaigning to get the final fight of his UFC contract lately, presumably so he can make the move over to boxing. When asked about Diaz’s contract struggles, Masvidal wasn’t exactly sympathetic.
“I think he’s got too much CTE,” Masvidal opined. “Probably can’t even f-cking understand what they’re putting in front of him. I don’t know. I usually don’t take the UFC’s side for many things, but from what I’ve heard and seen, I’m like, ‘This guy’s just a f-cking diva. Bro, just f-cking fight.’
“I could sign him off in his last fight if he wants. All that sh-t talking he’s been doing lately. I wouldn’t mind breaking his jaw and sending him off to whatever gambling casino he’s going to be fighting at or Indian reservation he’ll be headlining. I don’t mind. But he won’t sign when my name gets brought up again. It’s another ghost-ghost on [UFC executive] Hunter [Campbell], on all the matchmakers for weeks when my name gets brought up. So it’s whatever.”
Those are strong words from Masvidal. But they feel pretty empty considering where he was back in 2020.
At the time, Masvidal was out in public saying almost exactly the same things Diaz is saying today, telling the UFC to “let me go” if the promotion would not pay him what he wanted for a fight against UFC welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman. The longtime ATT talent went so far as to accuse those who thought he was being overly demanding of white knighting for the company.
It only looks worse if we actually go back and look at the other points Masvidal was making during his own struggle for better pay. To hear the man tell it then, what he was looking for during his contractual standoff with the UFC, he wasn’t just looking out for his own interests, but the interests of everyone on the promotion’s roster.
“We don’t get a percentage of the gate, we don’t get a percentage of the t-shirts and none of that sold,” Masvidal said at the time. “So what does it matter to us? Why do I have to do my job at a lesser rate? Now, if they were giving us 50 percent shares or 40 percent, or any of that stuff, it’ll be a different ball game. Yeah, we could come to different terms like how they do it in the NBA and other sports because of the things that are at hand.”
“I’m not asking to get more money,” he added. “I’m just asking to get a bigger revenue of what I bring in. And I think that’s fair for everybody across the board, you know?”
Unfortunately, and maybe predictably (given other past efforts from star fighters), Masvidal’s quest to better the lot of his compatriots seems to have ended right around the time the promotion reportedly made him one of the three highest-paid fighters on the UFC roster.
It’s a pretty obviously hypocritical stance he’s taken now, but I have to wonder if there isn’t another angle in trying to get fans to side with him against Diaz. After all, the more bold he gets about other, meaningless topics, the more he can distract from the very real and serious situation he finds himself in for his alleged attack on Covington.
Why call Nate Diaz a diva? Masvidal seems to believe that if he can talk loud enough he can get people to speak less about his upcoming trial and more about how he is the kind of guy who will fight anyone, anywhere, anytime. And honestly? Congratulations to Masvidal, because his heavy-handed PR move seems like it’s successfully shifting the narrative.
In a sport where everyone tends to glom onto the next shiny new thing, this kind of distracting spin isn’t so much bold as it is a tried and true method. However, for a man who likes to think of himself as the living personification of the BMF title—which he might have won, but Diaz literally spoke into existence—it’s pretty weak sauce to play the company man.
All this mess Masvidal is talking about Diaz comes across as a PR move, and maybe that’s the smart move. But that doesn’t make it any less tired and uncool.