Mixed Martial Arts popularity has skyrocketed over the last decade, but compared to other mainstream sports it is still in it’s infancy. Lately, the treatment of fighters, specifically in the UFC, is a weekly topic. When a company is growing drastically fast like the UFC, everyone wants a piece of the pie. Add into this equation the fact that the UFC recently sold to WME-IMG for $4 billion dollars, and fighters turn up on every corner asking for cash. The most recent fighter to weigh in on this topic is UFC Megastar Legend Champion Number one Contender Fighter who has one fought once in the last two years, Al Iaquinta. Al’s recent rants and behavior are a demonstration of exactly why mixed martial artists are not compensated the way other mainstream athletes are. Before ripping apart everything Al is doing to hold fighters back, I will note the fact he is an extremely entertaining fighter to watch who has talent that is undeniable….when he is in the cage.
Pro sports require elite talent, but at the end of the day they are a business. In any business setting an individual must possess a few vital components to be successful. Applicable talent is one, but you must also possess intelligence and carry an appearance that is, well, businesslike. To draw a comparison from other sports, look at ex-Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon. In 2013, Josh Gordon led the NFL in receiving yards despite only playing 14 games. Josh Gordon has also found his way into headlines ever since, but for the wrong reasons. Through foolish actions the most physically talented football player on earth is sitting at home missing out on millions of dollars in earnings. These rules apply everywhere, even for us average Joe’s trying to make more money at our 9-5 job.
Iaquinta made headlines for the right reasons with a highlight real knockout of Diego Sanchez, but soon after he started making them for all the wrong reasons. Let’s recap Al’s decisions over the past few weeks:
- Goes on Twitter tirade against UFC and boss, Dana White
- Slaps food out of Kajan Johnson’s hands at UFC fighter retreat
- Leaves UFC fighter retreat to hang out at a strip club
- Unleashes foolish rant on Ariel Helwani’s “MMA Hour”
These are a few that stand out, anyone that takes a look at Al Iaquinta right now surely sees him as a liability, a risky investment. At the end of the day each employee is an investment to an employer and who in their right mind would invest in “Raging Al” right now. Every fighter sees the money Conor McGregor is making and thinks, “that’s what I need to do, I need to make headlines through brash actions”, when in reality that is far from the truth. Conor is unique, much like Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson was to the NFL. They are one of a kind personalities that can act outlandishly yet still come off as businessmen. They are the brightest of the stars that can somehow pull off what the majority of the world can’t. Fighters deserve more money for putting it all on the line, but they must do it the correct way. Build the brand, increase exposure through production, overcome the “meathead, tough guy” stereotypes, and BE A GREAT INVESTMENT. That’s how to grow your career and your earnings, no matter where you do your work.
Clean it up Al and get back in the cage.
Also, I’m looking for an affordable bungalow on Long Island, shoot me a message if you have anything available.