When I watched UFC Nashville, I didn’t quite get ‘Raging’ Al Iaquinta’s post fight interview. The man seemed unfocussed, off point and totally random with his comments. He showed annoyance, mumbled something about selling real estate, and that was it. I felt like he’d wasted his on-air time, and failed to say anything relevant.
In the days that have followed, we’ve seen Al really live up to his nickname and spew fire about the problems he’s been facing with the UFC. It started with him ranting about low pay – an issue he’s brought up in the past as well. What really pushed him over the edge though, was overlooked for the Knockout Of The Night bonus. His performance against Diego Sanchez was amazing, and produced a highlight that the UFC is going to use for long time.
Hard to argue with that.
Then, there was the issue of sponsorship money he’d lost thanks to Reebok. And then, there was the matter of the UFC being selective in the fighters they promote. He took at aim at everyone’s favourite hate magnet – Sage Northcutt, then Mike Perry and then a whole bunch of other fighters, but most surprisingly, Al went after the boss himself.
Now there’s nothing passive aggressive about the manner in which Iaquinta is calling out Dana White. From telling Dana to “go f*ck himself” to declaring himself the new President of the UFC, to calling him a wannabe fighter – Iaquinta is mincing no words.
Whether you’re on his side or not, it’s bloody hard to look away now. This is an employee taking it to his boss in the most aggressive tone we’ve seen since Stone Cold Steve Austin. The UFC has been silent but it will be interesting to see how they deal with this. Do they simply ignore this disgruntled employee, or will they let this thing turn into a hero vs establishment kinda thing that will get fans interested in his next fight. Post acquisition, we’ve seen the UFC become a lot more.. corporate. Will they fan a few flames and try to generate marketing content out of this, or will they simply have HR send Al a warning letter?
Let’s wait and watch.