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Midnight Mania! Al Iaquinta goes off on Dana’s weigh-in change: ‘His sense of reality is gone’

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UFC 223: Nurmagomedov v Iaquinta Photo by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

“Ragin” Al Iaquinta lived up to his well-earned nickname today, blasting Dana White on the MMA Hour over everything from messing up a proposed matchup between Iaquinta and Justin Gaethje, White’s thoughts on Mike Jackson, and his decision to put Curtis Blaydes vs. Alastair Overeem on the prelims of UFC 225. His main gripe, though, was with Dana’s unlikely claim that they had the support of the “majority of fighters” in returning the weigh-ins to the old afternoon time, a matter on which ‘there’s no debate’. Transcript via MMAFighting.com:

“His sense of reality is gone,” Iaquinta said of White on The MMA Hour. “It’s gone. It’s shot. It’s absolutely shot. It’s scary. Now he’s putting our health at risk. He’s going to move the weigh-ins? So why did you move the weigh-ins in the first place? Because, in his mind, he wants more exciting fights. How are you going to get more exciting fights? Give the fighters more time to recover, right? Which is also beneficial to us because it’s healthy. It’s healthy for us to replenish.

“Even though it’s healthier for the fighters, we’re going to move it back to the nighttime, because he interviewed a million fighters? I haven’t seen one that want it at night. So his sense of reality, you can’t — it’s almost like, you do an interview with him now, it’s not about the truth, it’s about his agenda. So, I’m weighing-in in the morning.”

Weight cutting comes with a lot of inherent dangers, and no one is quite sure how to curb a practice deeply ingrained in MMA culture. White’s decision is a reversal of an original change to Friday morning weigh-ins, to allow fighters additional time to rehydrate before the fights, typically on a Saturday evening. White wants to change it back to 4 pm after it became clear many more fighters (though still a very small percentage of the whole) were missing weight. White’s decision, which he claimed had the support of the majority of fighters, was thoroughly lambasted by many of said fighters on social media, who were overwhelmingly in favor of the morning time. White doubled down on his claim when questioned, saying the UFC had surveyed even more fighters in support, and anyway, the decision was not up for negotiation.

Iaquinta continued with commentary that claimed White’s management style had worsened since the UFC’s 4.2 billion dollar sale to WME-IMG, a sale, it is worth noting, that White vehemently denied to his own employees until it went public. Many of those employees subsequently lost their jobs in downsizing. White made over 300 million dollars in the acquisition.

“Lorenzo (Fertitta) kept him in check,” Iaquinta said. “Now that [Fertitta is gone], I think he’s going to run this thing into the ground, because now he’s just saying whatever he wants to say. No one’s keeping him under wraps. He’s saying whatever he wants to say. You’re just going to move the weigh-in? What fighter did you interview? He said, ‘We’ve got 550 fighter on the roster, we interviewed more than you.’ Eh, I don’t think so. I haven’t talked to a fighter that was interviewed or talked to about moving the weigh-ins back to the nighttime. I think it’s about him. It’s all about him. It’s always about him. And if it’s not about him, he wants to get right in there.

“He’s got one foot out the door. Just go, man. Go. Go. He’s done. He’s done. And I don’t give a sh*t. I don’t care. I know. I can see. I’m going to say it. I think 50 percent of the people don’t see it, 50 percent of the people are too scared to say it. I think everyone’s onboard. I don’t know, it ruins everything. Like, a fight with Justin Gaethje, there should be no hesitation. You should just make it work, man. Make it f*cking work. Right? That’s the fight you want to see, I want to see, I want to be in, they want to be in. Everyone wants to be a part of this thing. F*cking make it work, dude. Don’t go out there on an interview and say, ‘Oh no, it’s not happening.’ Make it work. You’re the promoter. This is your job.

“It’s like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich — you can’t f*ck that up,” Iaquinta continued. “CM Punk, he shouldn’t be a thing you can f*ck up. He managed to f*ck it up, because Michael [Jackson] won the fight and he’s talking sh*t about Michael [Jackson], and he’s got Alistair Overeem on the undercard when a guy, (Curtis) ‘Razor’ Blaydes, freaking knocked him out. ‘Razor’ Blaydes should’ve gotten a win on pay-per-view. He should be the guy right now. He should be upset. ‘Where am I? You put me on the undercard, I finished Overeem, and you’re talking sh*t about Michael Jackson?’ What’s going on? I just, I love this sport so much, it kills me.

“You were upset with the way Michael Jackson fought? You put a reporter in the fight. What do you expect?”

After saying it is going to get worse before it gets better- but it will get better- Iaquinta was asked if he was afraid the UFC would cut him for his involvement with Project Spearhead, an attempt to unionize MMA fighters headed up by himself, Leslie Smith, and ‘Ragin’ Kajan Johnson. Such a union could directly challenge this kind of unilateral decision making by Dana White and give the fighters a say via collective bargaining on the fighters’ behalf. Leslie Smith, ranked 9th and riding a 3-fight winning streak at bantamweight, was paid to not fight after her most recent opponent missed weight, then let go by the UFC in a move widely perceived as retribution for her attempt to organize fighters. Iaquinta, who has been in plenty of hot water with the UFC before, and has a second career as a real estate salesman, isn’t at all worried. (Emphasis added by me)

“Get rid of me. I don’t give a sh*t. How about that?” Iaquinta said, laughing. “I really don’t care. That’s the difference, is I don’t care and they know I don’t care. All the rest of the guys, they care. I don’t. So, cut me. I don’t care. The UFC doesn’t make me. I make them. We make them. That’s what no one understands. No one gets it.”


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