Al Iaquinta’s return to the UFC has been accompanied by a return to open hostility with the promotion.
When Al Iaquinta effectively retired from the UFC back in September of 2016, the reasons seemed fairly obvious. He wasn’t happy. Negotiations for a new contract had turned sour and, for him, fighting was no longer worth the money. Despite being scheduled for a fight later that year (against Thaigo Alves at UFC 205), Iaquinta chose to hang up his gloves instead, and give real estate sales a try.
A little over 6 months later, and he was back. It seems Iaquinta and the UFC were able to come to a contract agreement after all, and even with a two year gap between fights, he blitzed out of the gate with a first round knockout of Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Lobov in April. Should be smooth sailing from there on out, right?
Since KOing Sanchez back in Nashville, Iaquinta has been on a full scale offensive against the UFC brass, lambasting the promotion, its executives, and even other fighters on social media. In part this seems to stem from his being suspended from collecting performance bonuses, going back to a series of incidents over 2014-2015. But if that’s what started this latest round of outbursts, it only seems to have opened the door to other grievances.
His latest salvo also included tweets about Reebok, and how the clothing company is unhappy with the UFC and Sage Northcutt, and a couple of shout outs to Burt Watson and Stitch Duran. Will it all get Iaquinta the outcome he’s looking for?
The promotion has been more and more willing lately to release dissatisfied fighters looking to make more money with other promotions. Nikita Krylov was able to secure his exit from his UFC contract, with fights still remaining on the deal, to sign with Eurasia Fight Nights. Others, like Kyoji Horiguchi, have been able to move much more quickly and freely to other promotions after completing their contracts, with less hassle from exclusive negotiation periods and matching rights than fighters faced in previous years. All that could spell good news for Iaquinta in his bid to get cut from the WME-IMG roster.