Back in November, the UFC made it’s long awaited debut in New York City with UFC 205. Given that this event marked the organization’s first trip to The Big Apple, it unsurprisingly sought to fill the card’s lineup with New York based fighters.
One of those fighters was Wantagh, New York’s Al Iaquinta, who was expected to welcome Thiago Alves to the lightweight division on the event’s undercard. Unfortunately, Iaquinta and the UFC did not see eye-to-eye in terms of payment, and so the fighter eventually withdrew from his bout with Alves, and was replaced by New Jersey’s Jim Miller.
“There’s a lot things that have changed since I signed the contract, and for me to go in there and risk my health, risk everything that you risk when you go into a cage fight, I just said, ‘look, I can’t do it,’” Iaquinta said of this issue on an episode of The MMA Hour. “‘We’ve got to ask for more money. Maybe we can negotiate something.’ My manager told me there’s probably not a good chance of that happening, so I said, ‘you know what, I can’t do it. Financially, I can’t fight for this purse.’
In the end, Iaquinta’s dispute with the UFC was severe enough to not only push him off the card, but push him out of the sport altogether. Shortly after UFC 205, the talented lightweight announced his decision to retire from MMA and focus on a burgeoning real estate career.
Thankfully, Iaquinta’s retirement from MMA appears to have been short lived. Late on Thursday night, UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby posted a photo of himself alongside Iaquinta and his coaches Matt Serra and Ray Longo. This photo was accompanied by the caption: “look for Al Iaquinta soon in an Octagon near you.” See this Tweet below.
— Sean Shelby (@seanshelby) January 27, 2017
Needless to say, fighter and promotion seemed to have ironed out their issues. Who would you like to see Al Iaquinta fight when he finally returns to the Octagon? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/27/2017.