Showtime executive vice president and general manager, Stephen Espinoza, called out the UFC for its ‘lawlessness’ over Dana White’s announcement that Al Iaquinta would be eligible for the lightweight title at UFC 223.
Iaquinta, who will take on Khabib Nurmagomedov in the new main event, accepted the fight on short notice after reigning featherweight champion Max Holloway was declared ‘medically unfit’ to compete. ‘Raging Al’ weighed in at 155.2 pounds on Friday, however, which means that, technically, he won’t be able to win the 155 pound title if he beats Khabib later tonight.
White, the UFC’s longtime head promoter, said that any ‘technical difficulties’ with the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) will be figured out after the fight and that Iaquinta would be ‘considered’ the rightful champ if he were to pull off the upset at UFC 223.
“Per the New York State Athletic Commission, this is not a title fight for him,” White told reporters at the Barclays center on Friday. It’s an actual regulation that a guy who doesn’t make exactly on weight cannot be the champion. So we’ll see. Obviously, if he wins this fight, we’ll figure that out.”
Shortly after White’s comments, Espinoza chimed in on Twitter and called out the UFC for its ‘shadiness’.
And they claim boxing is lawless.— Stephen Espinoza (@StephenEspinoza) April 7, 2018
Never heard a boxing match declared a title fight for both fighters even though one fighter failed to make weight.
Congrats, UFC. You've far outdone boxing in terms of shadiness. But why bother adhering to rules when you don't feel like it? https://t.co/w5JeUoDNKI
I have no issue with the fighters. None at all.— Stephen Espinoza (@StephenEspinoza) April 7, 2018
My issue is with the organization declaring that almost is good enough on a weigh-in.
Hand grenades, horseshoes and UFC title fights...when almost is good enough. https://t.co/4C3mxlGU5l
Espinoza, a longtime boxing promoter, even threw shade at the PPV numbers for last year’s MayMac boxing extravaganza, a fight he was instrumental in booking and promoting. Since then, Espinoza and the UFC have been on bad terms and White said that he despised working with Showtime in in 2017.
UFC 223: Khabib vs. Iaquinta takes place later tonight, April 7 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.