This weekend, in the main event of UFC Lincoln, Justin Gaethje will take on James Vick in a compelling lightweight showdown. Originally, Gaethje was expected to battle fan favorite New Yorker Al Iaquinta in this fight, yet Iaquinta ultimately withdrew from the bout as the timing just wasn’t right for him.
Speaking to MMA Fighting this week, Al Iaquinta, who also works as a real estate agent, explained that he stands by his decision not fight Gaethje.
“Basically, in the time that I would have trained for that fight, I made as much money selling real estate,” Iaquinta said. “So, it’s not a money thing. I enjoyed my summer. I wasn’t going to bed injured every night, I wasn’t waking up with a sore neck. I didn’t have to worry about Justin Gaethje’s crazy ass. I’m doing what I want to do. If they made it worth it for me, I would have. I’m making my show money in that amount of time when these deals close out. It’s crazy that a real estate agent on Long Island can make their show money for headlining a five-round fight against a top-six, top-seven guy in the world.”
Iaquinta also added that he really didn’t feel like the UFC had his or Gaethje’s best interest in mind when they first booked the fight.
“I was almost like, you’re not looking out for me and you’re not looking out for Gaethje,” Iaquinta said. “The guy just got pummelled his last three fights. You’re not looking out for him, you don’t care about me, because you didn’t even ask me how I’m feeling. They called me that night of the fight and a couple weeks later they offered me another fight.”
While Al Iaquinta feels he made the right choice bowing out of this fight with Gaethje, he is still interested in fighting. It’s just going to take the right fight, under the right circumstances, to convince him to do it.
“I’ve wanted to fight forever, but it’s not gonna be at my expense,” Iaquinta explained. “It’s gonna have to be an asset for me to fight.”
Whatever the case, Iaquinta says he’s given up on the UFC ever getting behind him.
“I’m training, I’m having fun in the gym,” Iaquinta said. “I’m training when I want to train. I’m getting better when I want to get better. I don’t have to do anything. Am I missing out on opportunities? Maybe. It’s too much stress. I’m having fun with my life now. I’ve given up on the UFC getting behind me. So I’m just getting behind myself.”
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/23/2018.