Al Iaquinta recently got a fight offer that is quite surprising in hindsight.
Iaquinta, a top UFC lightweight contender, told Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show that the promotion last week offered him a bout against former interim champion Tony Ferguson. “El Cucuy,” however, is currently going through personal issues, and doesn’t seem to be in a position to compete in the foreseeable future.
Iaquinta wasn’t aware of Ferguson’s situation when he got the call, and he agreed to fight him. But now with it coming to light, it makes sense why Ferguson vs. Iaquinta did not come to fruition, and instead Iaquinta is expected to meet Donald Cerrone in the UFC Ottawa main event on May 4.
“I was actually offered a fight against Tony Ferguson about a week ago, and I accepted it, not knowing that all the stuff was going on,” Iaquinta said. “Hearing about what he’s going through and everything, it makes sense why — I mean, I don’t even know why that was offered to me if they knew what was going on. It’s just a weird situation.”
Ferguson’s wife Cristina filed for a temporary restraining order against her husband last week, alleging domestic violence. There have been several domestic disturbances at the Fergusons’ home over the past two years, per police incident reports. Cristina said in a statement she hopes Ferguson gets the help he needs. Ferguson said in a statement the UFC is assisting him with finding help.
Ferguson has not been charged with a crime.
UFC president Dana White confirmed to Yahoo! Sports that Ferguson and Iaquinta were both approached about fighting each other, but then Ferguson’s personal issues came to light.
“The reality is that right now, Tony has a lot of personal problems he has to deal with,” White said. “I don’t think putting him in a fight right now would be in his best interest.”
Iaquinta wishes the best for Ferguson and hopes he is able to bounce back from his difficult time.
“It’s upsetting to hear something like that, because we’re all in this together,” Iaquinta said. “We all have the same goals. For something like that to happen, it kind of freaks me out. It puts everything into perspective.
“I think he’s a great fighter — he’s a little out there, but it seems that this has gone a little bit past that, so I’m hoping that he gets the help that he needs. This fight game can make you crazy. I hope everything goes good for him, and I just hope the best for him and his family.”