‘Raging’ Al Iaquinta has not been happy with his UFC pay for some time. He signed a new four-fight contract with the UFC after beating Joe Lauzon at UFC 183 on January 31, 2015. The first fight on the contract was a Split Decision win over Jorge Masvidal at UFC Fight Night 63 on April 4, 2015.
Then he hurt his knee, needed surgery, and was unable to fight. Complicating matters, in July of 2015, the UFC mandated Reebok apparel only during fight week, which hastened the decline of sponsors in the MMA space. With three fights left, Iaquinta’s contract is for $26,000 to show and $26,000 to win, with another $5,000 in Reebok money.
When he reflected on his fight career, he was not happy with the income, so last summer he withdrew from a fight with Thiago Alves at UFC 205 over issues he found with his contract, and supported himself in real estate sales.
Further complicating the issue, Iaquinta is ineligible for a performance bonus for the final three fights on his contract, as he skipping the yearly fighter’s summit in favor of training for a fight that was five weeks out, and making money as a personal trainer. Iaquinta had cited illness for his absence, but his social network showed him at the beach. Coupled with wrecking a hotel room after his fight with Joe Lauzon, and cursing on live television after his fight with Jorge Masvidal, the UFC heard him out on a con call and then removed the possibility of a performance bonus for the remainder of his contract.
The UFC declined to renegotiate his contract, and after a break of over two years, Iaquinta returned vs. Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night 108 on Saturday, winning via KO in the first. At a post-fight media scrum, Iaquinta was asked who he wanted to fight next.
“I don’t know if it’s worth it,” said Iaquinta, as transcribed by Marc Raimondi for MMA Fighting. “I don’t know if the money is worth everything I go through to do this. It worked out tonight, but it’s not gonna be that easy. So I don’t know. I’ve gotta think if it’s worth it. I’ve got a lot of injuries. It’s a lot of years lost that I’m not making any money. And now I’m not making sponsorships. I’m in the video game and I haven’t gotten a dollar from it and I don’t even have an Xbox and they haven’t even sent me a video game.”
UFC on FOX 25 will take place on his native Long Island, and he would love to fight on it, but not for his current contract, which with the win Saturday will likely escalate to $29,000 to show and $29,000 to win.
“That would be something I’d really love to do,” said Iaquinta. “But I’m not gonna do it for the contract I have now. Probably not. Definitely not for a top opponent. These guys are dangerous. I’m not going in there to get paid what I’m getting paid to get hurt. The chance of an injury, if I’m out for two years, where am I gonna get any money? I got no sponsors. There’s nothing. These last few years have been a wakeup call for me.”
“I love fighting, but I’m not gonna ruin my body. This is no game, man. This is for real. 26-26 is not a lot of money. For doing what I’m doing, for being on TV, for me driving the car I’m driving, I gotta be living a lot better than this. I could be doing anything in the world and making the same kind of money. And I don’t have the risk of getting hurt. I don’t need to fight now. I have my real-estate career. I’m set with that. So, if I want to fight, I’ll fight.”
“I really enjoy selling the real estate. I got my fix for fighting for now. I’m good for now. I haven’t thought about it. I just thought about tonight. I just wanted to get in there and have fun and that’s exactly what I did.”