UFC lightweight Al Iaquinta is not going back to afternoon weigh-ins. That is one fight the Long Island native says he will not lose.
Iaquinta (13-4-1) will face Justin Gaethje on Aug. 25, in Lincoln, Nebraska -- and will obviously need to make weight the day before.
At the moment, there is some mystery as to what part of the day that weigh-in will take place. The UFC advocated for morning weigh-ins in 2016, but UFC president Dana White recently stated he wants them moved back to the afternoon, citing an increase in fighters missing weight.
Most UFC fighters who have spoken publicly on the matter prefer morning, since it gives them added time to rehydrate before fight night. That includes Iaquinta, who says he will be stepping on the scale in the morning, regardless of anything the UFC says or does between now and August.
"I'm going to weigh-in and then I'm going to start eating," Iaquinta told ESPN. "I signed a contract under the assumption we are weighing in in the morning, so we are. There will be no afternoon weigh-in, 100 percent."
And if White and the UFC are adamant he do it in the afternoon?
"Dana is out of line, and this is the last straw," Iaquinta said. "They've never seen anyone like me. I will do everything in my power to make sure this is done the right way. We are weighing in in the morning."
Iaquinta, 31, has a history of sticking to his principles when it comes to disagreements with the UFC. He sat out for two years between 2015 and 2017 due to a contract dispute. He is also a board member of Project Spearhead, an ongoing effort to unionize UFC fighters.
This month, Iaquinta wrote "#fakenews" on Twitter after ESPN reported on his next bout being set. The wording was significant, in that it was the same words featherweight Yair Rodriguez used earlier this year in response to White telling a reporter about a Rodriguez fight. The UFC actually cut Rodriguez during the conflict but has since resolved the issue.
"That was me saying, 'I'm not freaking Yair Rodriguez,'" Iaquinta said. "You cut me, I'm not crying and coming back. Dana White has no power over me. That guy has zero power over me."
Whether the weigh-in issue will come to a head in August remains to be seen.
White has stated he's discussed the matter with fighters behind the scenes. He wants to move weigh-ins to the afternoon as soon as possible. It's unclear how soon that could happen, though, due to various regulatory questions.
Iaquinta, who fought for the UFC's lightweight title in April, has a history of an up-and-down relationship with the UFC. But he believes if White goes through with moving the weigh-in, a move Iaquinta believes would be against the wishes of the majority of athletes, more will speak out.
"I've got to keep fighting inside the cage and out," Iaquinta said. "The UFC needs a person like me, because I love this sport and Dana -- I don't know if he loves this anymore. I think he's just addicted to the spotlight and making it all about him.
"The more Dana White gets in front of a mic, the stronger we get. The more he opens his mouth, the more [Project Spearhead] forms we fill out. The fighters have gotten a taste of what it feels like to get a full, almost 36 hours of time to rehydrate. I've reached out to more than enough people to know that if he moves that, it will the last straw that does him in."