Nate Diaz has been trying to get his final UFC fight booked for the better part of a year, as the massive star eyes higher paying opportunities outside the promotion. That long dispute will seemingly culminate with a rough match up for Diaz, as he has now been booked against Khamzat Chimaev.
Fans and pundits don’t like Diaz’s chances against the young and explosive wrestler. Former two-division champion Henry Cejudo previously said UFC is “trying to kill” Diaz with the match up, and it’s a similar sentiment now echoed by Dan Hardy, who worked as a UFC broadcaster for years.
“It feels like we’re getting to the point where someone should start thinking about pressing charges,” Hardy told MMA Fighting. “It doesn’t feel like a fair fight. It feels like a very, very cruel thing to do to someone that is a legitimate legend. Because they’ve spoken out against the organization, they’re going to get executed live on TV. That’s kind of how it feels, and it makes me feel uncomfortable to think that’s the way it’s going to go down.
“I think he gets beaten up horrendously from the top position,” the former UFC title challenger said. “I think it’s going to be uncomfortable to watch, and I think it’s going to leave the UFC in a very, very bad light.
“I just hope Nate comes through it alright, because I think he’s got good opportunities outside the UFC. It’s just a shame that they’re going to do this assassination attempt on him before he leaves.”
Hardy derided his former employers for the booking, saying “it’s just a fight that shouldn’t be happening.”
“I just feel very unfortunate that it’s happening, and that we can’t celebrate these fighters when they’re coming to the end of their career. But it’s the UFC’s style, isn’t it?” Hardy said. “If they decide they’re parting ways with you, they try to damage you in every way possible. Unfortunately, if you’re a fighter and they want to damage you, they can actually physically do it, which is a shame.”
As Hardy implied, that really has been UFC’s “style” when dealing with a fighter that wants to get free from their contract, especially in years past. The UFC anti-trust lawsuit previously revealed former matchmaker Joe Silva’s harsh negotiation tactics used to keep leverage and extend contracts.
“I lowballed them on purpose the first offer knowing they would turn it down,” Silva’s emails showed about previous negotiations with Nate’s brother Nick Diaz. “How bout I come back with 29+29, 32+32, 35+35, 38+38. If they turn it down I put him in a prelim against a really tough guy for his last fight.”
Documents also showed Silva himself saying that turning down those intentional bad offers “allows us to extend his contract.” Nate’s contract was previously extended using these controversial tolling provisions, when he first turned down the Chimaev match up last year.