Lauzon: Why the UFC won’t cave to Ragin’ Al
‘Raging’ Al Iaquinta has not been happy with his UFC pay for a long time. He signed a new four-fight contract with the UFC after beating Joe Lauzon at UFC 183 on January 31, 2015. The first fight on the contract was a Split Decision win over Jorge Masvidal at UFC Fight Night 63 on April 4, 2015.
Then he hurt his knee, needed surgery, and was unable to fight. Complicating matters, in July of 2015, the UFC mandated Reebok apparel only during fight week, which hastened the decline of sponsors in the MMA space. With three fights left, Iaquinta’s contract was for $26,000 to show and $26,000 to win, with another $5,000 in Reebok money.
When he reflected on his fight career, he was not happy with the income, so last summer he withdrew from a fight with Thiago Alves at UFC 205 over issues he found with his contract, and supported himself in real estate sales.
Further complicating the issue, Iaquinta is ineligible for a performance bonus for the final three fights on his contract, as he skipped the yearly fighter’s summit in favor of training for a fight that was five weeks out, and making money as a personal trainer. Iaquinta cited illness for his absence, but his social network showed him at the beach. Coupled with wrecking a hotel room after his fight with Lauzon, and cursing on live television after his fight with Jorge Masvidal, the UFC heard him out on a con call and then removed the possibility of a performance bonus for the remaining three fights of his contract.
The UFC declined to renegotiate Iaquinta’s contract, and after a break of over two years, Ragin’ Al returned vs. Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night 108 in April, winning via KO in the first. At a post-fight media scrum, Iaquinta said he didn’t know if fighting was worth it. And the social media shots at the UFC continued.
During a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, Lauzon offered an explanation for why, and why it won’t work.
“I think he’s trying to get fired at this point,” said Lauzon, as transcribed by Dave Doyle for MMA Fighting. “I think he’s chalking it up as a loss and he’s trying to get out of his contract any way he can. I think he’s going about it all wrong.”
“Saying ‘F the UFC’ and all sort of stuff is not going to help him. He was on a three-fight, like, he wasn’t eligible for bonuses. It’s not going to help him to keep doing this, because, what’s going to happen? UFC goes and caves in to him if he keeps doing this, and gives in to his demands, you’re going to have 450 guys going ‘F the UFC’ on Twitter nonstop.”
“They’re going to make an example of him.”
Al Iaquinta is on a five-fight win streak in a very deep division. It is not known when or if he fights again.