UFC Fight Night: Brown vs Silva is tonight, but even bigger news this week was the UFC — in an unprecedented move — dropping active UFC lightweight contender Nate Diaz from their rankings.

This story brought reactions from media and fans alike, with most media outlets including ESPN and the UFC Tonight staff, thinking the decision to remove Diaz was a loser move.

Yes, fighters have been taken out of the rankings due to inactivity, but every one of those cases were due to injury; while Diaz is in the middle of a contract dispute, not hurt or inactive.

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His last fight, a December TKO win over Gray Maynard, was the third highest UFC on Fox Sports 1 event in history. He’s fought 19 times for the promotion, six of those in the main event, two times the co-main event, and his current ranking in the lightweight division was 6. He’s defeated the number 5, 7, and 8 lightweights in the world and #1 contender Gilbert Melendez posted on his Instagram that Diaz is “easily top 5 in my book!”

Even though he is a big draw, along with older brother Nick, Diaz is not getting paid near what his fellow stars are making. Before Melendez received a new contract, his base pay was $175,000, Jake Shields $120,000, while Diaz was making $60,000 to fight and an extra $60,000 if he won.

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One can argue that $60,000 or with a win $120,000 is a lot of money — but that’s not just for one day of work. Weeks and months go into preparing for a fight, and because he is a fan favorite, he brings more revenue to the UFC when people watch and go buy tickets to the fight.

Look, in any other major sport — if a starting player from a team were to hold out for more money, would they lose their starting position? Of course not, contracts and pay are just the business side of sports, so why completely remove a fighter because they don’t agree with what they are being paid? And why not cut him if he doesn’t want to fight for the organization? The UFC cuts fighters all the time, with Diaz’ friend Jake Shields being cut after going 4-1 in his last five fights.

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They are trying to make an example of Diaz for no reason, and here’s the real reason they won’t let him go — money. He brings in too much money for the UFC to just let him go. Guess we’ll see how ‘big brother’ wants this to play out…

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