Report | Al Iaquinta out of Justin Gaethje fight, UFC seeking replacement

al-iaquinta

Off then on and now off again apparently for good, UFC Lincoln is in need of a new main event and opponent for ‘The Highlight’ Justin Gaethje.

The former WSOF lightweight king, Gaethje and The Ultimate Fighter 15 finalist, Al Iaquinta were scheduled to square off in UFC Lincoln’s headliner on August 25th. The uber fan-friendly will now have to be put on hold as ESPN is reporting that Iaquinta has pulled out of the fight for undisclosed reasons.

Gaethje’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz shared his comments with ESPN confirming the news.

“I can’t question Al’s heart but at the end of the day, when you fight Justin, people have to think about it. I got nothing against Al, but it’s a tall order to fight Justin. When you go in there, you leave a piece of yourself in the cage. Some people don’t want to do that. If I’m a fighter I don’t want to fight that guy. I don’t know if this is a negotiation tactic from Al, but he is out.

For the record, he called out Justin, Justin took the fight, and then he pulled out. It’s his business. UFC will find someone else to fight Justin, and it will be an exciting fight. It doesn’t matter who fights Justin, it could be a chair in there, it will be exciting.”

Who will replace Iaquinta remains unknown for the time being. However, Ariel Helwani followed up with reports that Kevin Lee was reached out to to fill in only to decline. Meanwhile, David Teymur has come forward asking for the fight.

UFC offered the Justin Gaethje fight to Kevin Lee, sources say, however, I’m told Lee declined the opportunity because he wanted more time to train for his next fight. Lee is hoping to return to action later this year.

David Teymur’s management has reached out to the UFC to offer their services against Justin Gaethje on 8/25, I’m told.

By now it’s obvious that any fight that involves Gaethje is must-see action no matter who is his opponent so it could be worse.

To throw out a wildcard candidate… Former two-time Bellator champion and worldwide top lightweight, Michael Chandler is heading into free agency and has expressed interest in fighting for the UFC.

Could this timing be coincidental? We’ll just have to wait and see.

 

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/27/2018