Al Iaquinta will no longer fight Thiago Alves at UFC 205 in New York City on November 12th due to an ongoing contract dispute with the promotion.
Iaquinta has spent the past 17 months on the sidelines due to a knee injury, and upon his return has found that his earning power has diminished due to the UFC’s sponsorship deal with Reebok.
‘Raging Al’ will earn just $5,000 in Rebook money and can no longer pursue more lucrative sponsorship opportunities of his own, even although the last contract he signed with the UFC came into force before the Reebok deal was implemented.
Iaquinta had already verbally agreed to fight Thiago Alves at UFC 205, but when he received his bout agreement and looked over the terms in more detail he came to a conclusion that this was unacceptable.
“I got the contract and I was just looking at it for a couple of days. I was like I just can’t sign it. I can’t do it,” Iaquinta explained to FOX Sports. “I felt like it wasn’t right. I talked to my manager, I said listen I really want to fight in New York. There’s nothing I want to do more than fight in New York, but I can’t take a pay cut for this fight.
It’s a bold decision by Iaquinta given that he’s had such a lengthy layoff already, but after having put his time out of the Octagon to good use by getting a real estate license, he feels financially secure enough to make a stand.
“I got my personal training, I got my real estate license and I’m living comfortably,” Iaquinta says. “I don’t need to fight now. If I did take this fight, I would have to stop everything else I was doing and I wouldn’t make money and there’s got to be some stability.”
Unfortunately for the No.13 ranked lightweight, his attempts to negotiate with the UFC for a more lucrative contract have so far fallen on deaf ears.
That could be partly due to the fact that Iaquinta was already in the UFC’s bad books, having skipped a mandatory fighter summit in Las Vegas earlier in the year, claiming that he was sick, only for UFC official to spot him posting pictures on social media lying on a beach instead.
That didn’t go down to well, and given that Iaquinta had received two earlier infractions for wrecking a hotel room and swearing on live TV, he was slapped with a three-fight exclusion from earning bonus money, further hindering his earning power.
So, at the present time the fighter and the promotion appear to have reached an impasse, and the 29 year-old, who is currently on a four-fight winning streak, is now facing up to the possibility that sticking to his guns may force him to walk away from the sport.
“It doesn’t seem like they have any want to negotiate at all, so I’m not going to sit and cry about it,” Iaquinta told MMAfighting.com. “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.”