‘Raging’ Al Iaquinta’s UFC career looks to be over after he revealed he turned down a ‘dream’ chance to fight at the first event in New York City due to a pay dispute.
It all seemed to be going well. Iaquinta was scheduled to fight Thiago Alves at UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden in November. But a contract dispute, according to the 29-year-old Serra-Longo fighter, has forced him to withdraw from the landmark event – and potential from the Octagon for good.
Iaquinta said the risk was not worth the reward, despite the allure of fighting at The Garden. “There’s a lot things that have changed since I signed the contract, and for me to go in there and risk my health, risk everything that you risk when you go into a cage fight, I just said, ‘look, I can’t do it,’” said Iaquinta.
“We’ve got to ask for more money. Maybe we can negotiate something. My manager told me there’s probably not a good chance of that happening, so I said, ‘you know what, I can’t do it. Financially, I can’t fight for this purse.’”
Iaquinta described a scenario where if he were to lose the fight, after expenses, it would equate to fighting on November 12th for free.
“If I win the fight and they take taxes out and I pay my trainers, I make okay money,” Iaquinta told this week’s episode of The MMA Hour. “Okay. For fighting in a cage, I don’t know about it. God forbid, I don’t win the fight, (after) taxes, trainers, all the expenses, everything that goes into a training camp; I’m basically fighting at Madison Square Garden for free. It’s just unreasonable. So I asked him to reach out to the UFC, and from what he tells me there was no consideration of a negotiation whatsoever.”
While fighting at the world famous Madison Square Garden might have been a dream come true, hearing some F-bombs by outgoing UFC matchmaker Joe Silva didn’t help matters.
“It would be great to say I fought at Madison Square Garden, but after a while, you’re just saying that,” said Iaquinta. “There’s nothing to show for it. And that’s basically why I took the stance that I took, and it’s a tough one because there’s nothing I’d love to do more than fight at Madison Square Garden.
“But I feel like, to not even have a negotiation, and the things I heard (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva say to my manager about me when he asked just to negotiate, ‘eff him, eff this’ – who is he to put a price tag on what my life is worth, on what my knee is worth? I’ve had two knee surgeries already. I may have to have to have another one after nine more fights.”
Unless there’s some recourse by the UFC it looks as though Iaquinta will be moving on in life.
“I’m not even really thinking about that,” he added. “I just don’t even care anymore. I would love to fight at Madison Square Garden. It doesn’t seem like they have any want to negotiate at all, so I’m not going to sit and cry about it. I’m going to move on with my life. If there is a negotiation, that’s great, we can talk about it. But I’m not banking on that, by no means.”
The UFC have moved quickly, and shipped in New Jersey’s Jim Miller to replace Iaquinta against Alves on the UFC 205 card.