By now with four months of 2017 having past, it’s probably safe to say that the UFC has seen an early-year drought like the one they are currently mired in since, well, maybe ever.
The supposedly big pay-per-view (PPV) cards are way down, and television ratings have followed despite the exciting, action-packed cards that have taken place most recently. That doesn’t seem to matter, as the UFC’s lack of truly top stars has many fans and media members pointing to the inexperience – and some would even say lack of urgency – in booking fights that a wide variety of fans are willing to tune in and even pay for.
One star who echoes that sentiment is longtime UFC veteran Nate Diaz, who opened up on the currently sad state of the UFC in his special interview on ‘The MMA Hour’ with Ariel Helwani this week. Diaz, who revealed he’s most likely taking the rest of 2017 off, touched on his perspective that previous UFC owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, along with a motivated Dana White, had much more of a concrete plan and vision for the future when they ran the promotion:
“Honestly, I think that Dana and Lorenzo, they had plots, they had a lot of stuff. This is just my thoughts on it; I could be wrong. I think they had a lot figured out. I think they had a plan for everything that would happen, you know? If this guy won, they were gonna do this in the future, if this guy won, they were gonna do this and this. I think they had a long, drawn-out plan, I think they planned ahead, and I think since the company was bought, I think they’re just kind of letting everything linger a little bit, and they’re not as stressed out as Dana and Lorenzo were. That’s just my thought, they’re kind of just, I’m wondering if they’re waiting for shit to go down in flames so they can do a massive pickup, which is probably happening now with us, they’re starting rumors that we’re fighting. So, I don’t know.”
Asked by Helwani to elaborate on just what this ‘massive pickup’ may be, Diaz clarified he didn’t expect them to buy the UFC back, but rather that the new UFC owners were sitting back winging it until they finally decide they have to make something big happen to justify their massive purchase:
“No, I‘m saying I think that Dana and Lorenzo, I think that they knew what we’re doing. I think the guys now are just kind of owning it and sitting back. They didn’t have as many plans as Lorenzo and Dana; they were ready for everything, I believe. But I think right now they’re just winging it, letting it sit, and I think when it’s going down, they’re going to be like, ‘we need something big happen.’ Who knows, maybe something major is gonna happen; I don’t know.”
Diaz then touched on his view of new UFC owner Ari Emanuel, revealing that he was on good terms with the hidden shot-caller after he had approached he and his brother to discuss their interests in their oft-discussed love for triathlons and a vegan diet:
“We’re cool. I met the owner and UFC exec – what’s his name? Ari? Me and my brother met him, he was real nice, real cool; he came up to us talking about races, and our nutrition and stuff. He had a lot of questions, so it was cool that we knew who were and was like, interested in the situation, so we’re all cool; everything’s all good with us. We haven’t talked much, but we’re pretty cool as of right now.”