HYDEN’S TAKE: Al Iaquinta’s issues with fighter pay and the UFC – would it be worth it to UFC to increase payroll budget?

By Frank Hyden, MMATorch columnist

Al Iaquinta (photo credit Christopher Hanewinckel © USA Today Sports)

At UFC Fight Night 108, “Raging” Al Iaquinta knocked out Diego Sanchez, which is quite impressive considering how tough Sanchez is. He didn’t get a performance bonus, though. Mike Perry got one for knocking out Jake Ellenberger and Brandon Moreno got one for submitting Dustin Ortiz. Artem Lobov and Cub Swanson rounded out the bonuses for their fight.

Iaquinta was extremely upset about being left out, and I don’t blame him a bit. Lobov showed really good toughness in his loss, but Iaquinta stopped a dude who doesn’t usually ever get stopped. How do you not reward that?

The most likely answer to that is that Iaquinta is in the UFC’s doghouse. This was his return to fighting after a two year hiatus because he was unhappy with his pay. He’s publicly complained about it and the UFC obviously doesn’t like that.

I’m sure they like him even less now because, after being left off, Iaquinta has unleashed a Twitter tirade at the UFC and, more specifically, at Dana White. Iaquinta has called White all sorts of names and called out other fighters. In short, he’s starting to make a bigger name for himself and getting his name out there more, which should increase his popularity.

Considering how poorly the UFC markets the fighters themselves, they always love when a fighter does the marketing for them. The problem, though, is that the UFC is going to have a popular fighter who publicly trashes them at every turn and has shown that he’s willing to not fight if he feels he has to in order to make a point.

One of the reasons I love this is that I love chaos and I love when things get spiced up. I would love to see Iaquinta make a move towards Dana White like he was going to punch him or kick him because I would love to see Dana White crap his pants. That’s immature of me, but it would be hilarious to see that.

Or I would love to see Iaquinta (or anyone else, for that matter) get in White’s face and just cuss him out and call him out on all the stupid things he says and does. I also feel this way because this is important. The UFC doesn’t pay their fighters enough. You’ve got guys who can’t even afford to become a full-time fighter because they don’t get paid enough to cover their training costs and other such bills. The Reebok deal damn sure hasn’t made things any easier in that regard.

Iaquinta might not be going about this in the most PC way, but I think he’s doing the right thing here. The UFC isn’t going to pay attention to some nice guy routine, they’ll just tell you to buzz off and plug someone else in there. If you call them out publicly, though, maybe you start a conversation, maybe you encourage other guys to speak up.

You have nothing to lose, though, because they’re not going to pay you anymore out of the goodness of their heart. Yeah, they might fire you, but Iaquinta has already made it clear that what the UFC is currently paying him isn’t enough to make it worth it. So for him, this is a no-brainer. Either the UFC pays him more or they fire him and he goes elsewhere.

Of course, this brings up a bigger issue, one that’s been discussed numerous times. The UFC needs to pay their fighters better. They’re not going to do that unless they want to. UFC wants to make as much money as they possibly can. They might be better off in the long run if they boosted fighter pay a bit, though, which would increase morale. This has been talked about countless times by a multitude of writers everywhere so no need to go down this road again.

The bottom line is, I’m loving seeing Raging Al go off on the UFC and Dana White. It’s entertaining, much like his fights have been. I hope he gets paid enough to keep fighting, I want to see what he can do in the lightweight division. I don’t know if he’s going to make a title run, but it’d certainly be entertaining watching him try, both inside and outside the cage.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from Bellator 178 and UFC Fight Night 108 including Swanson-Lobov, Pitbull-Straus, OSP, Diego

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank

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