Al Iaquinta and Paul Felder are set for a lightweight division battle this coming April at UFC 223.
The fighter turned real estate agent got a new contract from the UFC before agreeing to fight Felder and it was the deal that he wanted all along.
“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 said 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. They gave me what I wanted. 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.”
One thing the lightweight did was use his experience as a real estate agent to negotiate the new deal with the UFC.
“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.”
UFC 223 takes place on Saturday, April 7 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.