Raging Al Iaquinta is conservatively ranked at #13. Being on a four fight winning streak. He’s one of the most well like and exciting fighters in the UFC. He fights out of a great camp in Long/Serra and had great training partners who believe in him. His top wins include UFC veterans Ross Pearson and Joe Lauzon. But now he has come in to some trouble with the UFC and says that he can’t afford to fight any more.
On a recent episode of MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, he implied that he would have to stop fighting and focus on the real estate business.
It started after his last fight he suffered and knee injury and the UFC didn’t want to pay the full cost of the surgery. Instead they wanted him to go the cheaper route and get stem cell injections. after 5 months he said that nothing had changed and he had to get the surgery anyways. The UFC eventually gave in and paid the full cost of the 60k surgery. Al says he feels like the UFC thinks it was a gift to pay the price of the surgery. and because they didn’t want to pay he wasted 5 months of his life.
“I thought my career was over.” He said on the MMA Hour.
He was originally scheduled to fight Thiago Alves at UFC 205. It would be the debut of UFC at MSG in new york which is Al’s home town. But he pulled out of the fight. He says he would love to be on that card but after a year and a half off with his injury he can’t afford to risk his health with his current contract.
He went on to say “There are a lot of things that have changed since I signed that contract, and for me to go in there and risk my health. ”
“I just said look, I can’t do it.” He said that it would be embarrassing.
Raging Al said that he originally tried to negotiate with the UFC. His manager told him there wasn’t a great chance of that happening and he was right.
Joe Silva was allegedly very rude to Al’s management. “Eff this, Eff you” asking if he is retired and threatening to cut him from the roster. His manager told him that there was no consideration of negotiation whatsoever.
“Who is he to put a price tag on what my life is worth?” Al said about Joe Silva.
“For a company like he UFC to talk to me like that, to talk about me like that. It just doesn’t sit right with me.”
He also discussed how fighters always think they are going to earn more but most never get theirs.
“You know what, you should just sign the contract. Stay in the UFC’s good graces and win three more fights or four more fights. Then you sign the big one”
“For alot of guys it doesn’t happen they never reach that point.
Iaquinta says that he has been fighting for that new contract ever since he started on The Ultimate Fighter, and he still fights for it.
He says he makes okay money if he wins the fight, but god forbid if he loses or gets injured. By the time he pays taxes and for his trainers, he has fought for free. He said that when Gilbert Melendez dropped out of their fight 9 days before he was not given his show money. But he had flown out people to help train for that fight.
“Some guys get their show money, some guys don’t.” Al revealed to Ariel Helwani
Those things combined seem like blatant favoritism from the UFC, and could leave many fighters in a bad spot like Al. He’s a guy who is performing well but is still getting the shaft from the UFC. May fans agree with him when he said
“I’ve earned the right to ask and not be cursed at and put down.”
In his interview on the MMA hour he also went into detail on why the UFC banned him from getting post fight bonuses for 3 fights. Why should the UFC be allowed to bully fighters like this?
Raging Al isn’t the only one who isn’t happy. because the Reebok deal is just another straw on the camels back.
“We’ll go out to dinner with a bunch of fighters or whatever and everyone is talking about the Reebok deal. Talking about losing money and how tough it is to get by.”
It makes you wonder how so many fighters are going through tough times when the UFC is making record profit and just sold their company for four billion dollars.
At the end of the interview Al implied that he could not afford to risk fighting any more and that he would be focusing on his real estate business in the mean time.
It is a sad loss for MMA but I hope it is an illuminating move that will shed some light on the darker areas of the sport and how the UFC treats and thinks about it’s athletes.
We hope that more fighters come out with their stories and stick together so this kind of bullying doesn’t happen. The fighters need to work together if they ever want to have a fair chance at bargaining with the UFC.
What do you guys think? Is Al worth more than the UFC wants to pay him? Leave your comments below or @MMAFanJesse