Contracts are an ugly side of the business, but they’re a necessity, as they make agreements for pay and stuff binding and viable.
Unfortunately, in the fight game, sometimes the fighter winds up unhappy, and then things really go into the crapper.
Such is the case with Al Iaquinta, a TUF vet who’s seen some success in the Octagon as of late. He is, to put it mildly, not happy with his UFC contract. And as per an interview with Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour” today, he laid out his grievances.
Iaquinta revealed Monday that he pulled out of the Nov. 12 contest in his home state of New York due to a dispute over his UFC contract. Iaquinta said that after spending 17 months shelved by injuries, he couldn’t afford to risk another health scare on the terms of his present contract, which was signed prior to the UFC-Reebok deal, and in the case of a loss, would effectively have him “fighting at Madison Square Garden for free.”
“There’s a lot things that have changed since I signed the contract, and for me to go in there and risk my health, risk everything that you risk when you go into a cage fight, I just said, ‘look, I can’t do it,'” Iaquinta explained Monday on The MMA Hour. “‘We’ve got to ask for more money. Maybe we can negotiate something.’ My manager told me there’s probably not a good chance of that happening, so I said, ‘you know what, I can’t do it. Financially, I can’t fight for this purse.’
“If I win the fight and they take taxes out and I pay my trainers, I make okay money. Okay. For fighting in a cage, I don’t know about it. God forbid, I don’t win the fight, (after) taxes, trainers, all the expenses, everything that goes into a training camp, I’m basically fighting at Madison Square Garden for free. It’s just unreasonable. So I asked him to reach out to the UFC, and from what he tells me there was no consideration of a negotiation whatsoever.”
In a perfect world, all fighters would get paid that Conor McGregor/Nate Diaz money, but we don’t live in a perfect world. Instead, we live in a world where sometimes ultra-talented fighters have more stable futures waiting for them outside the cage.
And that sucks.