Tag Archive for Iaquinta

Lightweights Al Iaquinta, Paul Felder Bolster UFC 218 Lineup on Dec. 2 in Detroit

Serra-Longo Fight Team standout Al Iaquinta will put his five-fight winning streak on the line when he faces former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder Paul Felder in a UFC 218 lightweight showcase on Dec. 2.
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Al Iaquinta Doesn’t Think Kevin Lee Deserves Interim Title Shot

Kevin Lee is fighting for an interim lightweight championship in the main event of UFC 216. This is due, in part, to champ Conor McGregor being too busy diving into his piles of money like Scrooge McDuck, top-ranked Khabib Nurmagomedov being unable to fight for whatever reason, and Tony Ferguson needing an opponent. Which isn’t […]

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Al Iaquinta Doesn’t Think Kevin Lee Deserves Interim Title Shot

Kevin Lee is fighting for an interim lightweight championship in the main event of UFC 216. This is due, in part, to champ Conor McGregor being too busy diving into his piles of money like Scrooge McDuck, top-ranked Khabib Nurmagomedov being unable to fight for whatever reason, and Tony Ferguson needing an opponent. Which isn’t […]

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Al Iaquinta still unhappy with contract, but itching to return against Diego Sanchez

Al Iaquinta was in Australia a little more than a week ago when the news was announced by the UFC that he’d be returning to fight against Diego Sanchez.

Iaquinta told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that he was doing a Q&A session with fans when the announcement flashed across a nearby TV screen.

“Raging Al” was pretty surprised, since he didn’t sign a contract and had just agreed to fight Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night 108 on April 22 in Nashville on the phone with his manager maybe a day earlier.

“There’s no contract signed or nothing,” Iaquinta said. “They just announced the fight. Why would you do that? But I do want the fight and I think it’s a good idea.”

Iaquinta, 29, said last year that he was all but retired after he felt like the money in his contract to fight Thiago Alves at UFC 205 in November was not enough. Iaquinta got his real-estate license and continues to work in that field. The Long Island native told Helwani on Monday that he still doesn’t like the numbers in his contract, but has gotten antsy and wants to fight again.

“I’m still not happy with the contract, but what the hell am I gonna do?” Iaquinta said. “Just sit here and do nothing? I gotta do something. I’ve gotta at least fight. Nothing is gonna change. It is what it is. It sucks.”

Iaquinta (12-3-1) said he agreed to return after bumping into UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby at a hotel bar last month in Denver. Both were in town for UFC on FOX 23. Iaquinta was there for his Serra-Longo teammate Aljamain Sterling’s fight against Raphael Assuncao.

“I had a good talk with those guys,” Iaquinta said. “I was like surprised. They really wanted me to fight. They basically told me to pick whoever I wanted to fight.

“At least they made me feel appreciated, I guess. I felt like they want me to fight again.”

Iaquinta said Conor McGregor was on the top of his list and he was also interested in taking on Alves at welterweight, since the Brazilian striker moved back up to that division. Kevin Lee at 170 was also one of his picks, because a small cut to welterweight was preferable over lightweight, Iaquinta said.

Ultimately, Sanchez was offered to him and Iaquinta accepted it, because Sanchez is a big name, an exciting fighter and he thinks he matches up well against him, Iaquinta said.

Iaquinta said he’s starting to make money in real-estate business and wants to continue doing that. Going back to fight is part of his “plan,” he said. So is getting the UFC to pay some medical bills he believes they owe him.

“I’m doing good with the real-estate stuff,” Iaquinta said. “It’s kind of making some money. I’m just having a good time. I want to get in there and fight. I don’t know.”

“Raging Al” did add that he wasn’t going to be as obsessed with fighting anymore. No more staying up and not sleeping, thinking only about the fight game. Those days are gone.

Iaquinta plans on showing up to Nashville, cutting some weight, and just “having fun” against Sanchez. MMA is just part of his life now, not the entire thing. And it seems like he’s still kind of on the fence about everything.

“I said I was as close to retirement as possible,” Iaquinta said. “I was pretty f*cking close. And I don’t know if I’m still fighting. Who the f*ck knows what’s gonna happen? I don’t know.”

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Al Iaquinta ‘disgusted’ at UFC bonus ban, calls for fighters union: ‘If they don’t like you, they can do whatever’

With talks between the two sides at a standstill, it is unclear whether Al Iaquinta will ever fight for the UFC again. But if he does, the lightweight contender and New York native will have to compete at least three more times before he is eligible for the UFC’s customary post-fight bonus program. And according to Iaquinta, the decision is apparently intended to serve as punishment for a disagreement that arose between him and the UFC earlier this year ahead of his scheduled fight at UFC Fight Night 71.

“They took the bonuses away from me,” Iaquinta said Monday on The MMA Hour. “Before the Gilbert Melendez (fight), it was supposed to be Bobby Green. I was supposed to fight Bobby Green, and it was like five or six weeks before that fight, there was a fighter summit in Las Vegas. I’m just getting into training camp, I’m just starting to really start pushing hard, and I got sick.

“My immune system was rundown. So I called the UFC and I told them, ‘I got this fight coming up. I don’t feel good, I’m sick. Is it cool if I stay home and train?’ In my head I’m thinking, I’m not getting paid to go out there. I’m going to get paid to fight, you would think they want me healthy and good to fight. So they said, ‘well we do these summits every couple months. Stay home. You’ll come to the next one.’ So I was like alright, cool.

“A couple days later, I posted a picture of myself. I just posted a picture that I was at the beach. Now, the beach is five minutes (away). It’s my backyard. Basically, I was in my backyard. And I get a text message from, I didn’t know who (UFC director of athlete development) James Kimball was at the time, but he texted me and he’s like, ‘I thought you were sick. What are you doing at the beach?’ So I’m like, dude, what is this? I felt like I was cutting class. Listen, I got a fight in five weeks. I’m relaxing between training sessions. There’s a guy trying to kill me in six weeks. Relax, I’ll go to the next one.”

Iaquinta, 29, said that things then escalated the following day when he received a phone call from UFC executives Dave Sholler and Reed Harris.

“They’re like, ‘well, you can’t win a bonus. This is your punishment, you can’t win a bonus,’” Iaquinta said. “… I explained everything. I said, ‘listen, I’ve got a fight coming up. I was sick. I went to the beach between training sessions. What does that have to do with anything? You said that they do these every month, I could go to the next one. Who cares? I don’t understand what the big problem is.’ And at the end of the phone call, I laid it all out there, and they’re just like, ‘you know what? Nah. Punishment still stands. Three fights, you can’t win a bonus. Three fights, no bonus.’

“That’s potentially $ 150,000, or even more, and you’re going to take that away from me because I missed (a summit)? They said it was a three-strike rule. I guess now there’s a three-strike rule? Basically, there was no due (process). I didn’t go before a committee. I didn’t get to explain my case. It was just like, ‘you got loud with James Kimball because he reprimanded you about going to the beach, so now you can’t win a bonus for three fights.’ And that really stuck with me. I don’t know. That they could do that, really was just, I don’t know, it disgusted me. It was like, why do I even want to do this? Do I even really want to do this anymore?”

A UFC spokesperson declined to comment on Iaquinta’s claims.

The situation is just one of many factors that led Iaquinta to withdraw from his Nov. 12 bout against Thiago Alves at UFC 205. In a wide-ranging interview, Iaquinta pointed to numerous issues he had with the UFC over his 17-month layoff, stating that the UFC initially declined to cover the full cost of his recent knee surgery and that UFC matchmaker Joe Silva scoffed when asked if Iaquinta could renegotiate his UFC contract — a contract which was agreed upon before the UFC-Reebok deal and could effectively have Iaquinta “fighting at Madison Square Garden for free” due to the lack of meaningful sponsorship income after expenses.

But through it all, the UFC’s seemingly arbitrary decision to ban Iaquinta from receiving post-fight bonuses for three consecutive fights was one of the factors that irked Iaquinta the most, and the former TUF 15 finalist threw his support behind the creation of a fighters union like the one being spearheaded by longtime baseball agent Jeff Boras.

“There’s got to be some representation for the fighters,” Iaquinta said. “There’s really not. You saw what happened. If they don’t like you, they can do whatever.”

For now, the standoff with the UFC has forced Iaquinta to seek a full-time career in real estate, and he indicated on Monday that he is willing to leave behind his burgeoning career as a mixed martial artist if things don’t change.

Iaquinta, a member of the Northeast’s distinguished Serra-Longo Fight Team, also said that his sentiments are shared by many of his peers; it’s just that many of them they are simply unable to act due to their own personal circumstances.

“I’ll go to the fights and everyone sits around the table and it’s just depressing,” Iaquinta said. “It’s just like, ‘blah blah blah, I’m not getting this, I can’t believe now we’re not getting sponsorships, I can’t believe now they’re going to do this to me, I can’t believe I’m not…’ And no one does anything, so nothing is going to get done. Everyone just takes what they can get and hopes that they’ll win three fights, hopes they’ll knock everyone out, hopes that the UFC is going to like them and then they’ll be able to sign that new contract, and when they sign the new contract it’s going to be all good.

“But that very, very rarely happens to a lot of guys, and there’s a lot of guys who are very beat up. They’re struggling, and it’s tough. A lot of people, they have families, they have kids, and they have to fight for the money. But I don’t have to do that. I don’t have any of those things right now, so honestly, I’m cool with just moving by the beach and just chilling on the sand. That’s all I need. I don’t need a lot. I don’t have the kids. I don’t have the family, so I can afford to take this stance.”

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The MMA Hour – 348 – Al Iaquinta

Al Iaquinta will stop by to discuss UFC 205 in New York City.

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Is This The End of The Road for Al Iaquinta?

Contracts are an ugly side of the business, but they’re a necessity, as they make agreements for pay and stuff binding and viable. Unfortunately, in the fight game, sometimes the fighter winds up unhappy, and then things really go into the crapper. Such is the case with Al Iaquinta, a TUF vet who’s seen some […]

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Is This The End of The Road for Al Iaquinta?

Contracts are an ugly side of the business, but they’re a necessity, as they make agreements for pay and stuff binding and viable. Unfortunately, in the fight game, sometimes the fighter winds up unhappy, and then things really go into the crapper. Such is the case with Al Iaquinta, a TUF vet who’s seen some […]

The post Is This The End of The Road for Al Iaquinta? appeared first on Caged Insider.

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Al Iaquinta willing to walk away from MMA if dispute with UFC remains unsettled

Al Iaquinta is out of his fight against Thiago Alves at UFC 205, and there is a chance Iaquinta could be done with the UFC for good.

Iaquinta revealed Monday that he pulled out of the Nov. 12 contest in his home state of New York due to a dispute over his UFC contract. Iaquinta said that after spending 17 months shelved by injuries, he couldn’t afford to risk another health scare on the terms of his present contract, which was signed prior to the UFC-Reebok deal, and in the case of a loss, would effectively have him “fighting at Madison Square Garden for free.”

“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,’” Iaquinta explained Monday on The MMA Hour. “‘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.’

“If I win the fight and they take taxes out and I pay my trainers, I make okay money. 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.”

Iaquinta, 29, is currently the No. 13 ranked lightweight on the UFC’s media-generated rankings. The native New Yorker has fought nine times in the UFC since entering the promotion in 2012 as a finalist on The Ultimate Fighter 15. He has won seven of those nines appearances, punctuated by a split decision victory over Jorge Masvidal in his most recent outing in April 2015.

The victory over Masvidal marked the first bout on a new four-fight deal with the UFC for Iaquinta, and took place before the Reebok deal dramatically altered the UFC sponsorship landscape. Iaquinta was then slated to compete at UFC Fight Night 71, however the match-up was scrapped when both Bobby Green and Gilbert Melendez fell through as opponents, and Iaquinta instead elected to seek treatment on a severe knee injury that he suffered while competing on TUF 15.

What followed was a process that Iaquinta likened to a nightmare. After a meeting with Dr. Riley Williams at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, Iaquinta requested to have a procedure called an osteochondral allograft to repair his injured knee. Iaquinta said UFC doctors instead insisted on stem cell injections to repair the damage, although after a near half-year process, Iaqunita’s injury remained unchanged and he again pushed to have surgery with Dr. Williams.

Iaquinta said the UFC initially offered to cover $ 15,000 of the procedure, which costs upwards of $ 60,000, not including the price of extensive post-surgery physical therapy. The UFC ultimately paid the full cost of the procedure, however there was an extended period when Iaquinta believed his mixed martial arts career may actually be over. That experience, coupled with the fact that his monthly income from sponsors was suddenly zeroed due to the UFC-Reebok partnership, left Iaquinta with a meager income and forced the fighter to find a full-time job as a real estate agent just to make ends meet.

“That just changed my outlook on everything,” Iaquinta said. “God forbid, I take this fight, $ 26,000, I win, I lose, whatever happens. Say I get hurt somehow, I got nothing. I’d have to take off time from my clients, I’d have to take off time with the real estate that I’m learning. I kind of got myself in a groove. To stop that, to take a fight where I could be risking everything, it’s just not worth it for the amount of money that they’re going to pay me.

“It would be great to say that I fought at Madison Square Garden, but after a while, you’re just saying that. 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.

“Am I going to be able to walk? Am I going to be able to live and enjoy life? And for him to say, ‘eff you, eff this, I’ll cut him. Is he retired?’ … Maybe we don’t see eye-to-eye, and maybe I’m not worth what I am, but for you to say, ‘eff this, eff that’ — you’ve never stepped in the cage. You don’t know what my body feels like after a fight, what my body will feel like down the line. So for a company like the UFC to talk to me like that, to talk about me like that, it just doesn’t sit right with me. I think it could’ve been resolved a whole different way. I think we could’ve gone about it a whole different way. I don’t know. It’s just frustrating.”

Iaquinta also pointed to several other factors that helped play a part in his stand, including the decision by the UFC to ban him from receiving post-fight bonuses for his next three fights.

That situation arose earlier this year, when an ill Iaquinta requested to skip a fighter summit in Las Vegas five weeks out from his bout against Green, then posted a picture on social media from a beach near his house in the days afterward. UFC officials informed him the following day that he would no longer be eligible for bonuses for his next three fights. The UFC declined to comment on Iaquinta’s claims when reached Monday.

Iaquinta ended up losing further money on the situation when Green’s replacement, Melendez, was pulled from the bout due to a failed drug test less than two weeks out from fight night, leaving Iaquinta without even his show purse.

“We’ll go out to dinner with a bunch of fighters or whatever, and everyone sits around the table and everyone is talking about the Reebok deal, talking about how they’re losing money, how it’s tough to get by,” Iaquinta said. “To get a good training camp, you’ve got to bring people in. You’ve got to pay. You’ve got to do this and do that. I flew people in for the Gilbert Melendez fight. He got pulled for what he got pulled for, and here I am, and they don’t give me any of my show money. Nine days before the fight. Some guys get their show money, some don’t. For some reason, I didn’t. So it’s tough.”

When asked straight up if he is prepared to not compete again in the UFC if things remain the way they are, Iaquinta said that he was, stating that “it’s just not worth it” and acknowledging that the past 17 months, and the treatment he has recieved throughout from the UFC, has left him disillusioned.

“I love fighting for the UFC. It’s the best organization in the world with the best fighters in the world,” Iaquinta said. “There’s nothing I enjoyed more than fighting. When I hurt my knee and I thought my career was over, that was a hard, hard time for me. Because I do, there’s nothing I like more than fighting. But there’s nothing I like more than standing up for what I think is right, and what I think I’ve earned. I’ve earned more than that. I’ve earned a discussion.

“I’ve earned the right to ask and not be cursed at and put down. I feel like them paying for my knee surgery was almost (viewed) like a gift, like they went above and beyond to pay for it — where it’s like, I hurt myself fighting for not a lot of money. I fought on The Ultimate Fighter to get to the UFC, where you’re going to make all that money, in the UFC. And then I get to the UFC and it’s like, I’m still fighting to get that next contract, where that next contract is awesome. And then I fight, I beat Ross Pearson, I beat Joe Lauzon. These guys are tough guys. These are big-name guys in the UFC, and I’m like wow, I made it. I did it. We’re going to renegotiate and I’m going to make money.

“Then they come back with what they came back with and I was like, oh sh*t, that’s nowhere what I thought I was going to be making. And it’s the same thing, it’s, ‘you know what, you should just sign the contract, stay in the good graces of the UFC and win three more fights, or win four more fights, and then you sign the big one.’ In a perfect world, I would’ve done that two years ago, but I got injured. So you’re not getting paid on what you do. You’re getting paid on what you can do, and for a lot of guys, that doesn’t happen. They never reach that point.”

Iaquinta added that he is more than willing to revisit the discussion if the UFC wishes, however he isn’t counting on that happening, and as things stand now, he is reluctantly looking at a future in real estate rather than living out his dream and fighting at UFC 205.

“I’m not even really thinking about that,” Iaquinta said. “I just don’t even care anymore. When they weren’t going to pay for my surgery, I thought my career was over, so I made terms with that at that time. So I’m like a guy, I just really don’t even care. I could take it or leave it. It is what it is. 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.”

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Thiago Alves Moves to 155 Pounds, Meets Al Iaquinta at UFC 205 in New York

The UFC’s New York debut has its first bout, as Thiago Alves will lock horns with Al Iaquinta in a lightweight affair.
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