Ongoing contract talks between the UFC and Nate Diaz, one of the promotion’s biggest stars, went public on Tuesday when Diaz and President Dana White commented on the situation.
On Monday, Diaz (20-13) asked the UFC to release him from his contract or book him a fight by August. He also indicated that he wanted to box YouTube star turned professional boxer Jake Paul. He accompanied his message with a video clip of Paul knocking out former UFC champion Tyron Woodley in December.
“UFC out now please or give me a fight with anyone in July or August,” Diaz wrote on Twitter. “I have more things to do.”
At a Tuesday press conference in Salt Lake City, UFC President Dana White commented on the promotion’s efforts to book Diaz’s next fight.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” White told Oscar Willis of The MacLife. “I love Nat, [but] let’s be honest. Nate has won a fight in five or six years. When these guys come into these positions, you have guys who have been with us for a long time, who we respect and care about…you want to be fair and do the right thing, regardless. Nate Diaz is not coming to fight [welterweight champion] Kamaru Usman. We try to do the best we can, trying not to s—- on anyone or disrespect anyone. … He should probably go on and fight Jake Paul. It’s a fight that makes sense.”
Diaz replied to White’s remarks later Tuesday, tweeting, “Send the release.”
Diaz (20-13), 37, hasn’t fought since a unanimous decision loss to Leon Edwards in June 2021. He has one fight left on his UFC contract, and for the better part of a year he has publicly requested the promotion book. him this final fight. Diaz has expressed interest in facing several opponents, including Dustin Poirier, Vicente Luque and Tony Ferguson.
The UFC has offered Diaz a fight in 2022 against soaring welterweight Khamzat Chimaev, sources say. However, Diaz refused, citing Chimaev’s inexperience in the business. He called Chimaev a “rookie” in a comment to TMZ in December.
Despite White’s comments regarding Diaz boxing Paul (5-0, 4 KOs), this is extremely unlikely to be his next fight as he remains under contract with the UFC.
According to sources, Diaz and the UFC have discussed a new deal in the past, but neither side has publicly commented on the possibility of a deal in some time. In March, White said he thought the chances of Diaz re-signing with the UFC were “very good.”
This isn’t the first time Diaz has publicly asked to be released by the UFC. He also did it in March. Representatives for Diaz declined to comment further when contacted by ESPN on Tuesday.