Though Al Iaquinta made a successful return to the Octagon last weekend, clobbering a durable Diego Sanchez to a first-round KO, the issues that kept him out of the cage for the previous two years are still festering in his mind. Chief among these issues is the way he is treated, and paid by the UFC. On Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour, a fired up Iaquinta explained that he has a particularly difficult time swallowing the UFC’s modest pay of fighters, while the promotion is so hesitant to cover its fighter’s costs when they get hurt.
“The UFC has done nothing for me,” he told host Ariel Helwani. “They left me high and dry [when I was injured]. I had to beg them for freakin’ knee surgery. Their doctor said I would never fight again if I had the knee surgery I wanted. Two nights ago I got in the cage.” “They told me I would never fight again if I had the surgery I wanted to have,” he elaborated. “I did all the research. I did. All day, I would wake up in the morning and I was on the computer all day doing research about knees. I could freakin’ do a knee surgery myself at this point. And they told me I would never fight. They wanted to send me out and get stem cell injections, take six weeks out of my life – six months really – and they wanted to try stem cell. I said ‘it’s proven it doesn’t work. Why are we doing this. You’re wasting my time.’ They said ‘well, we want to give it a shot before we pay $60,000 for a surgery.’ $60,000 for a surgery is nothing to you, and you’re going to cry? They only wanted to pay $15,000. A normal surgery at a normal hospital would have cost $15,000, but because I wanted to go to a good hospital, a hospital with a special surgery and the best doctor in the world – I wanted that – they said ‘oh it’s $60,000. We’re gonna pay for the regular [$15,000], you’ve gotta make up the rest.’ I said ‘I can’t make up the rest, are you fucking kidding me? How? How am I going to do that? I was going to say, ‘listen, pay for the surgery and take it out of my next purse when I fight again.’ I couldn’t freakin’ shell out money for a surgery. Go fuck yourself.”
Iaquinta then threw a bit of heat in UFC President Dana White’s direction, blasting him for criticizing the fighters on the admittedly slow UFC 208 by suggesting the best part of the card was his flight home from Brooklyn.
“Dana White has done a lot for this sport, but he hasn’t got one injury from this sport,” Iaquinta said. “For him to say ‘the best part of UFC Brooklyn was the flight home’… you’re on a private jet bro! Shut the fuck up! [For] most people, that would be the highlight of their life! Forget the night – you’re on a private jet, of course it’s the highlight of your night! These guys are fighting in the cage getting hurt.” “Who was it with the leg kicks? Someone got their legs kicked in,” Iaquinta continued, referencing Dustin Poirier’s win over Jim Miller. “[Dana White] owes an apology to all those motherfuckers. That’s bullshit. Shut your fucking mouth.”
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This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/24/2017.