UFC has anonymously offered a defense of allegations of mistreatment from disgruntled UFC lightweight, Al Iaquinta.
Speaking to MMA Junkie, an unnamed “UFC Official” commented. “The stories he’s telling are not true,” the official said. “The premise for his whole beef is not accurate, and I think he’s trying to justify the fact that he thinks he should still get bonuses.”
Iaquinta has gone on the record saying that UFC told him he is ineligible to receive post-fight bonuses such as Fight of the Night or Performance of the Night due to an apparent three-strike policy imposed on him by UFC. Iaquinta’s infractions included swearing on television following his win over Jorge Masvidal, “trashing” a hotel room, and no-showing a UFC fighter’s summit in Las Vegas. Iaquinta has claimed he was sick at the time of the summit, but that UFC called him out on that after he posted pictures from a Long Island beach, something “Ragin Al” calls his “backyard.”
“His story about the summit, the part that he left out was that he never called us to tell us he didn’t get on the plane,” the anonymous UFC official said. “He never called us to tell us not to send a car to the airport to pick him up. We had all these arrangements for the hotel. All these things were arranged, and he never bothered to call us to tell us he wasn’t coming, which I think would make anyone mad.”
Iaquinta has been bitter with the promotion since a contract dispute last year left him off of UFC’s debut in New York City. He came back to fight Diego Sanchez last month, but under the terms of his original contract, and has gone on several Twitter rants in the weeks since, including asking UFC to cut him. The UFC official thinks Iaquinta should look in the mirror before blaming all of his problems on them.
”I think when Al learns to take responsibility for his actions, he’ll be a lot better off as a person.”
Hiscoe’s Analysis: A lot of the disagreement between Al Iaquinta and UFC, to me, speaks to the fact that UFC fighters need to unionize. The three-strikes rule imposed on Iaquinta just reeks of being arbitrary, and I doubt he was given any warning that his “strikes” were being counted until he had already struck out with UFC. Iaquinta’s calls for UFC to release him are fair. He’s classified as an independent contractor. If UFC isn’t happy with his performance, they should allow him to take his skills elsewhere. Iaquinta hasn’t done himself any favors by no-showing his obligations, but my understanding is that fighters aren’t compensated for these fighter summits beyond their travel arrangements, so again, the independent contractor status and lack of fighter’s union are both in question here. In the meantime, UFC is actually increasing Iaquinta’s stock in the open marketplace by keeping his name in the news.
Finally, the fact that the unnamed UFC official had to speak anonymously to MMA Junkie says a lot about the new corporate culture at UFC under the new ownership. You can take your guesses as to who gave these comments, but a year or two ago, these would have been openly on the record, probably with a few more f-bombs peppered in.
MONDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Anderson Silva said on an Instagram live chat yesterday that he will no longer be fighting on the UFC 212 card from Rio de Janeiro on June 3. He was scheduled to fight Kelvin Gastelum before Gastelum was pulled due to failing a test for marijuana linked to his March fight with Vitor Belfort. “I really wanted to fight in Brazil, my country, but it’s not going to happen,” Silva said. “I want to apologize for this. I really wanted to fight here, but it didn’t happen. I think I was hurt in this, but that’s it.”
-Luke Rockhold appeared on “The MMA Hour” this afternoon and suggested that he, Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero, and Gegard Mousasi all refuse to fight until UFC institutes an Interim Middleweight Championship.
-Brandon Moreno told MMA Fighting that he is looking to fight Ray Borg next. “He’s failed to make weight a few times; that’s the only thing that worries me a bit,” Moreno said. “But if could make the weight, I’d love to fight him. I feel like it’s a fight between the new youth that are coming up, and I think he is the same age as me, and we’re very similar in style.”
-The first episode of UFC 211 Embedded and the UFC 211 Countdown show have both been released.
-Mitch Gagnon vs. Brett Johns has been added to UFC Fight Night Glasgow on July 16.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: SUNDAY NEWS DIGEST 5/7: Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone gets a timeout from fighting and understands why (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)