The bout was initially scheduled for UFC 218 before “Ragin’ Al” withdrew, citing an injury. The Serra-Longo fighter stated that he finally made up his mind to set another date with “The Irish Dragon” after the lightweight gave a public ultimatum stating that he would move on to other opponents if Iaquinta didn’t sign to fight him before the end of January.
“One day I saw on an article on Twitter and it said something like Paul Felder did an interview and said that we had until the end of the month to make this fight happen or he was going to take another fight,” Iaquinta told Ariel Helwani on the latest episode of The MMA Hour.
“So I text Sean Shelby and told him to give me a call when he got a chance. He gave me a call and I just laid it out there again for the 10th time; we had the same conversation basically again.
“He said, ‘What is the number that will get you to fight?’ I told him what I wanted and he said he was going to talk to who he had to talk to. He called me back and I ended up getting a contract.”
According to Iaquinta, UFC met all of his demands with the offer he received after speaking to Shelby.
“They gave me what I wanted,” Iaquinta said. “They gave me exactly what I asked for.
“I’m kind of surprised on one hand, and on the other hand, I know what I’m worth. I’m a fight that Paul Felder wants. I know he thinks this is a good fight for him for whatever reason. I know he’s their guy. He wants the fight, they want to give him what he wants — they want to make him happy so they in turn made me happy.”
He continued: “They gave me just enough so I don’t give a sh*t when I get in there. I won’t be holding anything back. I’m getting paid enough to where I’m scary. When I’m in that state of mind, there’s a problem.
“They gave me just enough to where I get in there and I don’t give a sh*t. I’m not tapping out to a choke like some of these guys who are getting paid a lot of money. I’m going for it.”
Iaquinta claimed that UFC gave him a new contract when he initially signed to fight Felder at UFC 218. That contract has been ripped up and replaced with a new one-fight deal.
“It’s a one-fight deal in my mind, that’s all I’ve got to worry about, I’m only worried about one fight. In my mind, it’s a one-fight deal. In their mind, it’s a one-fight deal,” he revealed.
Iaquinta claimed he would make $80,000 to show for the fight, and an additional $50,000 if he wins the fight.
“I asked for 80 to show and 50 to win. I told them $80,000, and I’ll go in there and fight Paul Felder and I won’t give a sh*t what happens,” he said.
“I never think about it, but when I fought Diego Sanchez I fought for — it’s insane to even say — 23,000 or 26,000 something like that. I was thinking, ‘I’m getting paid 26 to fight and anything else is an extra’. There’s nothing guaranteed.
“Show and win money, it’s insane that they even do that. You’re putting your win bonus money in judges’ hands, so I said, ‘Give me 80,000 and then my bonus’. So if I win, I finally get a bonus, $50,000, because they ain’t giving me a [fight night] bonus.”
Comparing MMA to real estate, Iaquinta explained how he decided to ask the UFC $80,000 to show for the fight.
“I see what everyone is getting paid,” he said. “It’s like real estate, you see what the houses are worth and you see where the market is at right now. Although the market for the UFC is not where it should be — I think the fighters have been in a little slump and we’ve always been there — where the market is at now $80,000 is pretty reasonable.
“We’ve got to still work on the market. I think everyone should be getting paid at least three times what they’re getting paid. For guys fighting for titles, not getting a million dollars right off the bat is just insane.
“I felt like that was a number that was pushing the boundaries to what they would agree to.”