A warning to readers: this article contains colorful language courtesy of Al Iaquinta. If you are not a fan of naughty words, proceed with caution.
In the wake of the UFC fighter’s retreat in Las Vegas, Al Iaquinta has resurfaced as the most disgruntled fighter on the roster yet again. As you may recall, Al has been very vocal about his discontent with the UFC and their subjective awarding of performance bonuses following his first round knock out victory over Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night Nashville.
Iaquinta is currently on a five fight win streak and 13-3-1 overall. He has been extremely outspoken about his current ban from receiving UFC performance bonuses. Who could argue against him when taking into account the nature of his wins? Of his last five fights he has won 4 by way of KO/TKO yet he remains banned from receiving performance bonuses due to an Instagram post. The post included a picture of him at the beach instead of attending a fighter summit. As a result Iaquinta received a 3 fight ban from performance bonuses which is still in effect. Even with the loss of up to $150,000, his distaste for his employer runs much deeper than performance bonuses. Al holds a much deeper grudge that stems from injuries sustained in the octagon.
Iaquinta stated on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, “I fought three times in two weeks, who’s done that? Three times in two weeks. I fucking ruined my knee forever. Done… and you’re not going to pay for my shit. Fuck you.” This statement is in reference to a knee injury that sidelined Iaquinta’s career for two years. Previous to his fight with Diego Sanchez on April 22 of 2017, Iaquinta had not stepped foot in the octagon since he defeated Jorge Masvidal by split decision on April 4th of 2015.
While attending the Fighter’s retreat the UFC announced that they would be partnering with Hopsital Special Surgery, the treatment facility that Iaquinta paid out of his pocket for his knee reconstruction when the UFC said it was too expensive to foot the bill. Iaquinta researched his options and decided to use Hospital Special Surgery even when the UFC encouraged him to use a Cheaper option that they would pay for. It would seem that logic would side with Iaquinta that when it comes to saving a star athlete’s career, a promotion should provide top quality care. Unfortunately, this didn’t appear to be the case with how the UFC handled Iaquinta’s medical care. As a result Iaquinta went with the facility he deemed to provide the best services. After proving Hospital Special Surgery to be a career saving facility the UFC re-evaluated their thoughts. So much in fact that they have officially partnered with the medical center for future athlete care. Without paying for Al’s medical bills first.
“I was the one that put them in touch with the UFC they didn’t want to pay for my shit and they’re best friends now…I don’t think it’s working It’s not going to work. That’s it fuck them.” It’s apparent that Iaquinta feels wronged but he also feels insulted. The UFC officially partnered with the same medical facility they refused to pay for. Meanwhile, the UFC continues to pay for unnecessary entertainment items like hiring Snoop Dog for a private concert at the Athlete Summit. “Fucking snoop dog was there. fucking pay me. I’m hurt, pay me!” Iaquinta yelled during his interview with Ariel Helwani.
Whether you like Al Iaquinta or not, you have to admit he raises real concerns with how the UFC handles the medical well being of fighters on their roster. Cage Prophet hopes that Iaquinta and the UFC brass can find a way to sort out their differences. It would be a true shame to see Iaquinta walk away from the promotion at the height of such a promising career. While he doesn’t always present himself eloquently nor speak his mind poetically, the man is an artist in the octagon. Regardless of behavior this writer believes the UFC has an obligation to tend to the medical welfare of their athletes. But what do you think? Let us know in the comments below or @CageProphet on Twitter.