There are levels to the type of message Al Iaquinta wants to deliver to the UFC, and several were in play at various moments on Saturday night.
First, there open-to-interpretation message that occurred in the Octagon following his first-round knockout of Diego Sanchez in the UFC Fight Night 108 co-main event on Saturday night.
“The sooner the UFC realizes that I’m the man, the better,” Iaquinta said.
Iaquinta’s pride was understandable, considering he had just become the second Sanchez opponent to ever stop “The Ultimate Fighter 1” winner with strikes inside the cage. Returning from a two-year layoff, Iaquinta floored Sanchez with a right hook and then finished the job shortly thereafter, connecting with a right cross that dropped the usually durable veteran to his knees at the 1:38 mark of round one.
“It couldn’t have gone any better. I visualized that happening,” Iaquinta said on Fox Sports 1. “I visualized the worst possible scenario where he was beating on me for two and half rounds where I have to come back ,and sometimes it works out where it’s just the best all comes together. It was a dream come true; it was a great night.”
Iaquinta’s hiatus occurred when he temporarily retired to focus on a career in real estate. As a result, a proposed UFC 205 bout against Thiago Alves in Iaquinta’s home state was nixed. Much of Iaquinta’s discontent with the promotion had to do with money, and that apparently hasn’t changed. When Iaquinta was asked to explain his “I’m the man” comments in the Octagon on Saturday, he again referenced the financial issue.
“I asked for more money last time. I think the fighters deserve a little more respect in general,” he said. “Not just me, just everybody. That’s how I feel, so that’s what I said.”
Iaquinta’s tone changed a little later, when he took to Twitter to deliver a less subtle message to the Las Vegas-based organization.
“Hey UFC go f—k yourself,” Iaquinta wrote.
Hey @ufc go fuck yourself— Al Iaquinta (@ALIAQUINTA) April 23, 2017
It appears that Iaquinta was unhappy with being left out of the post-fight bonuses awarded by the UFC. While his knockout of Sanchez certainly appeared worthy of a “Performance of the Night” check, Mike Perry and Brandon Moreno were the ones who saw their bank accounts benefit in that regard on Saturday night.
If it wasn’t clear what drew Iaquinta’s ire, he reiterated his point again shortly thereafter.
Fuck you https://t.co/UoGqPspJAw— Al Iaquinta (@ALIAQUINTA) April 23, 2017