Oh boy, here we go. Following his win over Paul Daley, Nick Diaz went on a rant in an interview with Inside MMA about not having a future in MMA because there’s no one left to fight, there isn’t a “shitload” of money in the sport and his life is a “living hell” full of grueling training. His manager/trainer Cesar Gracie then sits down with Kenny Rice and says they’ve signed on the dotted line to box Fernando Vargas sometime in September or October, but they’re still waiting to hear back from his people.
All I can do is shake my head. First of all, no, Nick isn’t making millions like Brock Lesnar or GSP, but he already earned $150,000 and $175,000 paydays in 2011, which is well above the average in MMA. Nick may think there’s greener pastures in boxing, but the only boxers making the kind of money Nick is talking about are the superstars like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Meanwhile, the rest of boxing is declining while MMA continues to grow. If Nick want to go make a little side money boxing while he awaits his next MMA fight, more power to him, but to suggest his future isn’t in MMA is ridiculous. He’s one of the few fighters with the potential to break seven figures a year, but he needs to let this UFC-Strikeforce transition play itself out before he gets it. All he needs is a little patience, not a career change.
Update: It looks like this interview is already somewhat outdated. Cesar Gracie told MMA Junkie after the video went live that a potential Fernando Vargas fight already fell through. He says Vargas has some kind of health issue that would prevent him from passing his medicals, however Vargas told Sherdog today that Diaz needs to put his money where his mouth is.
“Nobody has contacted me or my team about a fight with Nick Diaz for a supposed September fight,” said Vargas. “I have not been in the gym but I have been running and keeping myself in shape. If they’re serious about fighting me then put the money where their mouth is and let’s see what they’re talking about.”
Anyhow, as far as Gracie is concerned Vargas isn’t fighting and they’re already looking at other boxers for Nick to fight including Jeff Lacy, Sergio Martinez and Ricardo Mayorga, with Lacy being the frontrunner.
Interestingly, there is one fight that Diaz would shelve his boxing ambitions for — a catchweight fight with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. However, with as unlikely as that was earlier this week, it’s even less likely now with Silva scheduled to face Yushin Okami in August at UFC Rio. You’re probably wondering, well, what about GSP? Well, Diaz is convinced that Jake Shields is going to beat St. Pierre at UFC 129 so he’s not even entertaining the idea of trying to challenge for the UFC welterweight title. Maybe his mind will change in a few weeks if Shields loses, but for now, he wants to fight Anderson Silva or box (although Gracie did mention Thiago Alves as an interesting challenge).
There’s one more piece to this story. Nick Diaz’s Strikeforce contract has been renegotiated since the buyout. The details are a little hazy, but apparently Zuffa wanted to him to sign a new deal under the LLC they created to purchase Strikeforce with, Forza LLC, but Diaz and Gracie refused to put pen to paper. Instead, they were able to rework his current contract and keep the provision that allowed Nick to box once in 2011. All Gracie would say about it was, “We got it changed, so we’re good.” What exactly that means, I’m not sure.
Meanwhile, Strikeforce middleweight champ Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza is tired of waiting on the sidelines and hopes the regime change will result in more fights.