UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw has explained why he chose to leave Team Alpha Male (TAM) and join the newly-formed Elevation Fight Team.
When news of his departure first broke on Tuesday, speculation suggested that the rift between TAM founder Urijah Faber and former coach Duane Ludwig, with whom Dillashaw had still been training, was the cause of the split.
However, Dillashaw has since announced in an interview on Stud Show Radio that his reasons are purely professional and financial.
“It was announced today that I will be training with Elevation fight team out of Colorado. I did most of my last camp with them, was still announced that I was fighting out of Team Alpha Male," said Dillashaw.
“This whole team got created because I trained out there last time, for the most part. Elevation Fight Team already existed, but when you train with Elevation Fight Team if you wanted to do jiu jitsu, you went to Easton MMA. If you want to do strength and conditioning, you went to Lauren Landow’s place. If you wanted to do wrestling, you went to the MusclePharm gym. When I wanted to do striking, I went to Duane Ludwigs gym.
“That’s four different gyms. I’m driving around. It’s a pain in the ass, right? But when I came out there, I did the Road To The Octagon out there, and they saw the attention they can get from the camera following around the fighters, and having a legit fight team.
“All those gyms are going to be under one roof now. It’s going to be a legit team, a legit training practice. We are going to have physical therapists on hand, a strength and conditioning coach in-house every day, we are going to have everything we need.
“This is a state-of-the-art, badass gym, too. That’s not exactly what swayed me – the equipment and all of that cool stuff – because I don’t need that.
“I was going to go out there no matter what for this fight camp. I was going to go back and forth. Last time I paid a lot of money to do that. I had to rent a house while I was out there, pay coaches while I was out there. I put up a lot of money to be out there and do half of my fight camp at Alpha Male and half at Elevation Fight Team.
“Well now, Elevation Fight Team came to me and they want to pay me some good money to train with them. They are offering to pay me to train, instead of me paying to train. This sport is growing so much. That is the way I feel like it should be. We are professional athletes
“I feel like I got treated better in college wrestling. I had a physical therapist on hand at all times no matter what. That’s not where MMA is at yet. But I feel like there are these teams that are catching up.
“They are putting money behind it, are realizing the opportunities and are taking advantage of it. Really, if anyone else was in my situation they would take the exact same deal.”
Faber and Ludwig’s feud stems from the latter’s time working as head coach at the Sacramento, California team.
Ludwig was fired by Faber after allegedly treating some students poorly and behaving unprofessionally.
Despite this, Dillashaw and several other TAM fighters have regularly travelled to Colorado to train at Ludwig’s Bang Muay Thai gym in preparation for their fights.