One of the first bouts announced for UFC 205, which will mark the UFC’s debut in New York City’s Madison Square Garden, was a lightweight showdown pairing Thiago Alves with New York’s own Al Iaquinta. This was also one of the first UFC 205 bouts to be cancelled.
When news broke that Iaquinta vs. Alves was off, it was immediately clear that the responsibility was in Iaquinta’s corner. Why the New Yorker had withdrawn from the bout, however, was a mystery.
Thanks to a story from Damon Martin of Fox Sports, this is no longer the case. We now know the cause of Iaquinta’s withdrawal from the New York card, and it all comes down to money.
In his interview with Fox Sports, Iaquinta explained that he just doesn’t feel he’s being offered what he’s worth. Though he was happy with his current contract when he signed it, he signed it before the UFC’s uniform deal with Reebok came into play, and before he spent 18 months on the shelf with a potentially career-ending knee injury. Unsurprisingly, these two developments had a substantial impact on the New Yorker’s financial standing.
“I got the contract [for the Alves fight] and I was just looking at it for a couple of days,” Iaquinta told Fox Sports. “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,” Iaquinta continued. “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.”
According to his interview with Fox Sports, Iaquinta would have made $26,000 to show and $26,000 to win for his bout with Alves. That, when combined with the mere $5000 he’d earn wearing Reebok, wouldn’t have been enough to dig him out of the hole his 18-month layoff created, so he decided to hold out and hope the UFC will sweeten the pot.
Of course, because Iaquinta is still in the middle of his contract, he does not have the luxury of testing free agency as Rory MacDonald recently did. So, for the moment, his choices are fight or wait.
“[The UFC] sent me an extension to my contract, which is saying because I can’t fight they’re going to extend my contract until I can fight,” he explained. “That’s it, it’s a done deal.”
Do you think the UFC will sweeten the pot for Al Iaquinta like they recently did for Luke Rockhold, or is the New York based lightweight holding out for nothing? Sound off, PENN nation!