[in best Jay Leno voice]
So the issue of fighter pay in the UFC is once again making headlines in the MMA world. Have you seen this? Have you heard about this? It’s as if fighters are suddenly starting to realize that taking punches and kicks to the head for $40K a year isn’t all that great of a deal, especially when you’ll be making that much next year to flip burgers!
The latest fighter to join to ever-growing voice of the discontented (see previously: Rockhold, Luke and Henderson, Ben) is UFC lightweight “Raging” Al Iaquinta. Until very recently, Iaquinta was scheduled to return to the octagon against Thiago Alves at UFC 205 in Madison Square Garden. The fight was the culmination of a lifelong dream for Iaquinta, a Wantagh, New York native who cut his teeth in the sport alongside the likes of Chris Weidman and Gian Villante at the Serra-Longo gym in East Long Island, but also one that he was forced to turn down in light of recent circumstances — more specifically, the absolutely abysmal amount of money he was being offered to take it.
In an eye-opening interview with Fox Sports, Iaquinta revealed the behind-the-scenes decisions that led him to withdraw from the fight.
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. 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.
I’m taking a pay cut from all of my sponsors. I’m taking a pay cut of all the last 18 months of the sponsors that could have been. I told (my manager) that I wanted more. I wanted to have a conversation with the UFC and see if they would do some kind of negotiation because when I signed my contract, there was no Reebok deal.