There’s not much new to add to the controversy swirling around the most famous brother tandem in mixed martial arts – the Diaz brothers – but UFC president Dana White weighed in on the due following Saturday night’s fights in Cincinnati.
“There's nothing new with Nick; Nick is retired. And we keep offering Nate fights, and Nate turns them down,” said White. “Nate, by not responding, thinks he's not turning them down. But by not responding, he is turning them down.”
It’s really no skin off of White’s nose if either Diaz brother ever sets foot in the Octagon ever again. As the brash UFC president says, “You can’t make grown men fight.”
But while he doesn’t need for the Diaz brothers to ever fight for him again, White certainly feels like the two are missing out on their moment in life to make a mark on the sports world.
“It's not frustrating for me at all. If the Diaz brothers don't ever want to fight again, that's up to them,” he continued. “The thing is that's sad about it, fighting or any other sport, it isn't a profession. It's not a job. It's an opportunity.
“It's an opportunity to make money. It's an opportunity to achieve great things during a short window of time. And if they want to sit out their window of time for the rest of their careers, that's up to them.”
The phrase “it’s a young person’s game” is often bandied about in sporting circles, and that’s because, in most sports, it is a “young person’s game.” There are those athletes that stand out from the pack, say a fighter like Dan Henderson, who is now 43 years old and still fighting at a high level.
But an athlete like Dan Henderson is the exception, not the rule. The rule is generally, and particularly in combat sports, that an athlete isn’t going to have a highly competitive career by the time he sees his 40th birthday.
And in any endeavor, the world continues to turn. White even went to the extreme of pointing out that if Saturday night was the last time he ever participated in his role as president of the UFC, the company would continue on without him.
“Whether you're talking about baseball, basketball, football, mixed martial arts, boxing, the world moves on. If tonight is my last night and I walk out off this stage and I'm done, the UFC isn't going anywhere,” he said. “The UFC is gonna keep rolling without me. And the same with the Diaz brothers.
“Nate Diaz just signed a new deal and he won one fight out of his last three fights and wants more money and wants a title shot and wants this and wants that. That's really not the way it works. We're just sitting here tonight talking about how Matt Brown has won seven fights in a row. Matt Brown doesn't have a title shot yet. Nate Diaz is far from seven in a row.”
As exciting as the Diaz brothers are in the cage, and as much as their fans surely want them back, it sounds as if the ball is in their court, and White & Co. are done making the chase to bring them back.