Al Iaquinta decided to pull out of the historic UFC 205 event in New York due to a contract dispute with the UFC, and Brazilian veteran Thiago Alves, who was scheduled to meet him at Madison Square Garden, reacted to his decision.
Iaquinta said on The MMA Hour that he would pretty much fight for free in case of a loss against "Pitbull" on Nov. 12, and is dissatisfied with his current situation in the promotion. Alves, who now makes his lightweight debut against Jim Miller, understands Iaquinta’s decision, even though he doesn’t think it’s a smart one.
"I don’t pay much of attention to what people say or don’t say, I just focus on my job, but I heard what he said," Alves told MMA Fighting. "But he knew how much he would be making right after his last fight, so playing this game, ‘oh, I want more money now,’ right before the fight… He could have asked for a new contract when his last fight was over, but now that the UFC New York is here, I think it’s a little stupid.
"Only you know how tough the situation is. I respect his attitude and his opinion, but he already knew how much he would be making, so it’s up to him."
A former UFC welterweight title contender, Alves has been fighting for the promotion since 2005. Competing inside the Octagon for over a decade, the Brazilian discussed the new trend of seeking for money fights instead of following the rankings and focusing on going after the UFC belt.
"There’s time and place for everything," he said. "There’s time to ask for more money, and there’s time to fight. If you’re in a position where you can ask for more money, go for it. The UFC will pay you. If you’re in a situation where it makes sense for the UFC, they will pay you. Of course, I want to make more money, we all do, it’s the human nature, but I think there’s time and place for everything.
"Everybody is focusing on money fights now, but nobody wants to work their way up. It has to make sense, you have to be popular, headline pay-per-views, bring the audience and make money for the company. You haven’t done anything and want more money? There are 1,000 fighters right next to you who want the same thing. You have to focus on winning fights and getting in a position where you can make more money."
"Pitbull" enters the Octagon for the 21st time on Nov. 12, and is confident that what the promotion pays is equivalent to what the athlete brings to the table – and gives an advice to the up and comers.
"Nobody enters this sport expecting it to be easy, and you have to literally fight for everything," Alves said. "If you think it will be easier (to make money) because the UFC is getting bigger now, it’s nonsense. You have to focus on winning fights, be the best you can every day. Nobody does MMA to become rich. If you’re good at it, you will be paid well. Everybody wants to make good money. These young fighters have to focus on winning fights, become a good fighter, build a good record, and get to a position where it makes sense to ask for more money, and the UFC will pay you."