There aren’t many employees that would have one of their best nights at the office, and follow it up by ripping into their Employer. Than again not everyone is Al Iaquinta. Iaquinta hasn’t been shy about his frustration with UFC management and their polices. While his love for fighting is still fully intact it’s Iaquinta’s patience around the politics of The UFC that continues to grow thin.
“Raging” Al was yet again snubbed for a finish bonus Saturday night after knocking out UFC legend Diego Sanchez. After expressing his frustration on Twitter that night, Iaquinta went into further detail on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani this week.
“Just not winning the bonuses. I don’t know whether they didn’t give it to me because I didn’t deserve it, or whether they didn’t give it to me to kind of shaft me, because they said in the past that I wasn’t eligible to win bonuses and maybe they’re just sticking it to me. The whole bonus thing is just ridiculous. The fact that they’re giving $50,000 bonuses, it’s like their little way to control everybody.” Iaquinta has yet to win a bonus since his stint on The Ultimate Fighter despite beating the likes of Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, and now becoming the first fighter to knock out Diego Sanchez.
Iaquinta went on “You’ve got to suck up to the man. You suck up to the man, you get on the mic, you thank Joe Silva, Thank you guys, you guys are the best, thank you Dana White, thank you Lorenzo Fertitta,’ and those are the guys who get the bonuses. So it’s their little way. Like, ‘Kiss my ass and I’ll give you a little scrap.’
The Reebok deal has been an ongoing issues for fighters as well. “Their whole thing with the Reebok deal is, ‘it’s like an investment for the future.’ Alright, so invest in the future and get this union going. Help the fighters, and you know what, we could work with the Reebok deal. We could make it so that everyone is happy. But shove a piece of paper in my face, you say ‘sign this or you’re getting released, I want to say f*ck you.”
Iaquinta spoke his mind in direct regards to UFC President Dana White as well. White made a comment after UFC 208 in Brooklyn that the “best part was the plane ride home.” White, who took that flight home on a private jet completely discredits the effort as well as the risk that each of those fighters took leading up to, as well as competing in those fights. “He [White] owes an apology to all those motherf*ckers. That’s some bullsh*t. Shut your f*cking mouth.”
The most important message that can be taken here is The UFC needs to have a Fighter’s Union. These fighters need a voice, they need someone protecting their rights. Although months back it seemed like a plan for a Union was coming together the idea has since been quieted. “The Fighters have to have a voice” Iaquinta discussed. “We need to be heard. It’s gotta be our time now.” Iaquinta went on to say Dana White should have a crucial role in the process. For everything White’s done for the sport protecting the rights of it’s fighters should be on the top of his list. White has taken the stance of not Unionizing on account of the Fighters being independent contractors. “I would love to do anything to help. We need to do something” Iaquinta told Helwani.
What Iaquinta spoke about here is UFC’s harsh reality. Truth be told Iaquinta has stepped up and spoke his mind on an issue that other fighters don’t have the brass to talk about. Iaquinta should be commended for his stance, and other fighters as well as fans have shown their appreciation for that. Policy’s need to change and the rights of these fighters need to be protected. Like all other sports these athletes must have a voice. A group that will analyze any decision made by the UFC and make sure the Fighters best interests are at heart. Most importantly these fighters need to get paid. For the amount of work that goes into each fight, for the risk taken every time you get locked in that cage fighters must be compensated accordingly.
This is only the beginning. More fighters need to follow Al’s lead and stand up for themselves. Realize they are being mistreated in regards to pay per fight, sponsorships, incentives, and medical coverage. While Iaquinta’s delivery may be brash, his point is sound. Something’s gotta give or the UFC’s future despite all its success could be in jeopardy.
As far a Dana White’s personality, you don’t build a billion dollar business by being a nice guy. But as far as Al’s contract problems, I gotta look at his Agent and say WTF!!! Straighten this out.