He was ridiculed, accused of complaining, and even being a “cry baby”. Yet today Al Iaquinta can say he was able to do something many other fighters haven’t had the fortitude to do. To stand their ground when they aren’t being properly compensated. Not knowing their worth for the physical and mental strain on their bodies, and all the other risks that come between training to when those cage doors close. Iaquinta’s original contract was ripped up and replaced with a newly structured four fight deal. Mixed martial artists are grossly under payed and mistreated. Iaquinta despite his success was willing to walk away from it all. A career in real estate made it possible for Raging Al to make that decision and stick to his guns. “I know what I’m worth” Iaquinta said yesterday on the MMA Hour. “I’ve said it before, I’m the man. They need me, I’m the one knocking people out. I’m the guy.” It would appear UFC now realizes that of their number ten ranked fighter making an uncharacteristic move by ripping up the lightweights original contract.
Now a highly motivated Iaquinta will take that new contract and square off against Paul Felder on April 7th at The Barclays Center. “They gave me just enough” Iaquinta said. “Just enough that I won’t hold anything back, and when I’m in that state of mind I’m scary.” The bout originally slated for UFC 218 but Iaquinta would eventually withdraw from the fight. Yet this was a fight Felder continued to lobby for, and even put Iaquinta “on the clock” looking for a fight to be signed by the end of January. Felder would get his wish, now taking on “Raging” Al in his backyard in Brooklyn NY.
In a division that champion Connor McGregor is MIA after a venture into the boxing world, as well as several other question marks, this match up becomes an intriguing one. “There’s eight knock outs between us, neither of us have been knocked out” Iaquinta told the MMA Hour. “This is the match up, this is old school UFC, an East Coast show down. Paul Felder is a tough mother f*cker, but you know what so am I. This is what it’s about, I’m going after this mother f*cker.”
Felder has fallen into the role of one of the UFC’s brass “favorites”, acting not only as fighter but commentator as well. Favorite or not, he’ll have his work cut out for him against Iaquinta. “I’m going to go into Brooklyn and put on a show. It’s time to prove what I’m worth.”