When the UFC made it’s long awaited debut in New York City in November, it only seemed logical that talented New York lightweight “Ragin'” Al Iaquinta would be a part of the card. Given this, it was no surprise when he was booked for a lightweight bout with Thiago Alves on the card’s prelims.
It was a surprise, however, when Iaquinta announced that he was having a contract dispute with the UFC, and when he ultimately decided to retire from fighting and dedicate himself to a real estate career.
Given Iaquinta’s station as a top-15 lightweight, his retirement was an undeniable bummer. Luckily, it was announced a few months later that he’d squashed his beef with the UFC, and accepted a fight with lightweight veteran Diego Sanchez on April 22.
The keyword in that last sentence, however, is “accepted.” According to Iaquinta, he has still not signed a new, more desirable contract with the UFC, and has only verbally accepted this fight with Sanchez.
“There’s no contract signed or nothing,” Iaquinta explained on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “They just announced the fight. Why would you do that? But I do want the fight and I think it’s a good idea.”
“I’m still not happy with the contract, but what the hell am I gonna do?” he continued. “Just sit here and do nothing? I gotta do something. I’ve gotta at least fight. Nothing is gonna change. It is what it is. It sucks.”
Despite the fact that he’s still not happy, Iaquinta assured that the UFC has at least made him feel appreciated again.
“I had a good talk with those guys,” Iaquinta said. “I was like surprised. They really wanted me to fight. They basically told me to pick whoever I wanted to fight.
“At least they made me feel appreciated, I guess. I felt like they want me to fight again.”
At the end of the day, however, he’s still not sure what the future holds. Retirement is still a very real possibility.
“I said I was as close to retirement as possible,” Iaquinta said. “I was pretty f*cking close. And I don’t know if I’m still fighting. Who the f*ck knows what’s gonna happen? I don’t know.”
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This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/21/2017.