As transpired yesterday, the UFC has removed Nate Diaz from its top fifteen rankings list.
Previously seated at number six in the lightweight division, the 12 – 7 fighter and seven year veteran of the promotion was dumped from the brand’s fighter sort on Tuesday, after having been on it since its inception back in February of 2013.
As the UFC made no official announcement regarding Diaz’s removal from the list, fans were left guessing as to the rationale behind it. Having fought as recently as last November – scoring a round one TKO victory over Gray Maynard at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 Finale – Diaz’s removal could not have been for reasons of Octagon absence; at least not in the strictest sense.
Rather, the general consensus of most fans was that the Cesar Gracie team member had been struck from the sort due to his contract dispute with the promotion, and subsequently, his unwillingness to step into the cage at his current rate of compensation.
On Wednesday’s edition of UFC Tonight, Dana White addressed the subject of Nate Diaz and his lack of ranking. By way of an explanation, as posted to “UFC-T’s” Twitter account, the promotion’s president stated clearly that Diaz – along with fellow lightweight TJ Grant – was removed due to his “inactivity.” And where Grant has a medical reason for not being in the ring – he’s been out with a concussion since June of 2013 – White stated that Diaz’s problem is that he hasn't “respond” to the offers that have been put in front of him.
White: @NateDiaz209 and TJ Grant were pulled from the UFC rankings due to inactivity. He says Diaz hasn't responded to fight offers.— UFC Tonight (@UFCTonight) May 8, 2014
Of course, the most notable fights that Diaz turned down or failed to respond to, was an offer from White to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov and a re-match bout with Donald Cerrone. Both were big opportunities for Diaz and a pair of wins over the two highly touted fighters would have given Diaz exactly what he wanted, but will never get without returning to the Octagon, which is a new contract.
As odd as it might seem that a fighter that’s as talented as Nate Diaz is no longer listed amongst the brand’s top ten lightweights, it’s also reasonable that the UFC would want to open up Diaz's slot to a fighter that wants to compete.
Either way, it certainly seems as if push is coming to shove between the UFC and Nate Diaz. As the California native is not in a position to either demand more money or force the promotion to cut him, Diaz really has no alternative but to either return to the Octagon under his contracted terms or retire.