Al Iaquinta has been at loggerheads with the UFC for a long time over his contract but he finally agreed to sign a new deal recently – though it’s only for one fight.
According to Iaquinta, his new fight with Paul Felder at UFC 223 in April came together after he spoke to UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby and laid out his contractual demands.
“They gave me what I wanted,” Iaquinta told Ariel Helwani on ‘The MMA Hour’ this week. “They gave me exactly what I asked for.
“I’m kind of surprised on one hand, and on the other hand, I know what I’m worth. I’m a fight that Paul Felder wants. I know he thinks this is a good fight for him for whatever reason. I know he’s their guy. He wants the fight, they want to give him what he wants — they want to make him happy so they in turn made me happy.
“They gave me just enough so I don’t give a sh*t when I get in there. I won’t be holding anything back. I’m getting paid enough to where I’m scary. When I’m in that state of mind, there’s a problem.
“They gave me just enough to where I get in there and I don’t give a sh*t. I’m not tapping out to a choke like some of these guys who are getting paid a lot of money. I’m going for it.”
So exactly how much is Iaquinta getting paid? Well, it seems the one-off fight will earn him $80,000 to show, while he’ll secure a further $50,000 if he emerges victorious.
It’s not an earth-shattering payday, but compared to what he was being paid previously, it’s a big step up for ‘Raging’ Al.
“I never think about it, but when I fought Diego Sanchez I fought for — it’s insane to even say — 23,000 or 26,000 something like that. I was thinking, ‘I’m getting paid 26 to fight and anything else is an extra’. There’s nothing guaranteed.
“Show and win money, it’s insane that they even do that. You’re putting your win bonus money in judges’ hands, so I said, ‘Give me 80,000 and then my bonus’. So if I win, I finally get a bonus, $50,000, because they ain’t giving me a [fight night] bonus.”
It would be hard to argue that Iaquinta hasn’t earned the pay raise, as though he’s been a volatile fighter for the UFC outside of the Octagon, inside of it he’s been a force to be reckoned with, winning eight of his last nine fights, including his current five-fight winning streak.
With that in mind it’s somewhat surprising that the UFC aren’t making more of an effort to give him the financial security he seems to be seeking to sign up for more than just a single fight.