MMA News

Tuesday, 04/17/2012, 03:16 pm

Editorial Spotlight | There's No Such Thing as a Teammate in MMA

By Josh Long:
In just over two weeks Jon “Bones” Jones will defend his light heavyweight championship against “Suga” Rashad Evans. This fight will surely live up to its hype, as the former training partners/teammates at Gregg Jackson’s gym will square off inside the octagon.

Teammates? defines a teammate as a member of the same team. While most gyms claim they are a team in reality there’s no such thing as a teammate in the world of mixed martial arts.

Most everyone who has played some type of team sport has the seen the pneumonic device for team.


Well this doesn’t apply when it comes to the UFC.

This is Mixed Martial Arts. While a fighter might train with someone at the same gym for a period of time, does it make that person a teammate?

Not necessarily, this isn’t like a pro wrestling match where you have a tag team partner to tag in and out of the match once you’re in the cage. It’s one-on-one, man vs. man.

To use a baseball analogy you’re training partner isn’t in the middle infield helping to turn double plays to get out of an inning. He may help a fighter prepare but ultimately it’s up to each individual fighter to control his or her own destiny inside the ring.

Many fighters do believe in teammates and they are constantly on TV and radio saying I don’t want to fight him because he’s a teammate.

Jon Jones went against the norm by saying he’d fight Rashad.

Although in a recent interview conducted by Jon Anik, The former champ says he would’ve only made super fights or possibly even dropped to middleweight.

There are other underlying issues in the Jones/Evans rivalry for sure, but it’s obvious that these two have legit beef.

It’s hard to say who was really the first to break from the tradition of fighting what they call a teammate but there’s one feud between former training partners that stands out and that is the bad blood between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz.

The Iceman was a guy who would fight anyone, anywhere however when it came to fighting his training partner and no.1 contender, Ortiz didn’t believe in the same philosophy.

Ortiz constantly made excuses about not wanting to fight Chuck because they were friends and training partners. He also mentioned a pact between that the two would never fight; something Liddell claims never happened and even said Tito was ducking him.

Finally at UFC 47: It’s on! These two squared off with Liddell knocking Ortiz early in the second round. These two fought again fort two and a half years later with the iceman scoring a TKO late in round 3.

There aren’t many guys who stand behind the words anyone, anywhere, anytime as the iceman did. Maybe too many guys are worried about fighting a friend. If they’re a friend then friendship should be able to overcome, besides who doesn’t have a competitive rivalry with a friend that trains with them

The point here is that there are no true teammates in MMA. There are guys who train together and the corner men that will occasionally feature another fighter, but in the end there’s only two men fighting inside the cage and as much as some fighters would like to claim they have teammates, they really don’t have teammates.

A fighter has the guys in his corner but again the corner guys can only do so much and during the fight they’re outside the cage.

Some may say, “What about the ultimate fighter?” Well even during the Ultimate fighter guys on the same team end up fighting and don’t have a choice because they know if they don’t fight they’ll never get a shot at a UFC contract again.

Every fighter’s goal should be to win the title and it shouldn’t matter who they have to beat to get to that goal. Sure someone might get upset about having to fight their friend, which is understandable, but maybe they need to find another profession because sometimes fighting a training partner and friend might not be what they want, but a second chance to get the title might not come again.

Teammates just don’t exist in MMA because it’s an individual sport.


14 Responses to “Editorial Spotlight | There's No Such Thing as a Teammate in MMA”

  1. banks says:

    I disagree i think martial arts in general is about discipline and comradery, im not a ufc fighter and they always say ufc is a totally differant animal but im pretty confident i could be content as a no.1 ccontender if my boy was champ. so easy to confuse hunger and greedy especially when u got a greeedy mofo like dana calling the shots

  2. Ly-er says:

    I don’t know how valid this is but, Ryu & Ken from “Street Fighter” made it work! Why can’t fighters in the UFC do it too!!! LOL

  3. Lachlan Inwood says:

    if you really believe there are no teammates in MMA , you are as stupid as the shit you are writing , you gave us two examples were teammates fought , but there 100s were they dont , idk how you got your job because this terrible.

  4. Bradley Bellrose says:

    I don’t like this philosophy at all :(. I am a wrestler at the moment and I have my “team” who I would not want to wrestle because of that fact. I know that we have to wrestle in some occasions but that’s not up to us if we had the opportunity to say no I would rather not face him i would say that in a heartbeat. Being a team shouldn’t be limited to being on the same side (as we mostly support one another) but it should also include honor and respect.

  5. TrigenicKin says:

    Trash article bro, maybe if you spent a day of your life training with others who sacrificed their blood, sweat, and tears all for the sake of getting you better you’d understand that they’re called FIGHT TEAMS for a reason. You truly don’t understand the type of respect that teammates have for one another, they suffer in each others arms and push each other to greater heights every single day in the gym, to say that they don’t really have a bond and should have no problems fighting each other; then you’re clearly as ignorant as this article has lead me to believe.

  6. seprodrigo says:

    When you’re in a team, there are guys out there that you spend a lot of time with. Some of them become your friends. As a pro fighter, you’ll spend most of your time traning, and you’ll see your teammates more than your own family. You become friends with them. Would you fight a friend?

  7. Don says:

    I think that you can have team mates. Even your coaches and pad guys are on your team but you are doing this as a business just because you’ve trained together you shouldn’t compete? That would make most sports pretty boring only compete against someone you haven’t trained with. That’s where the true discipline should come in. Being able to do combat at your best level and STILL be friends.

  8. Trig says:

    Please use spell check, or atleast read your article before posting it. The amount of errors, along with the stupidity of this article made me want to bash my head against the wall.

  9. Mike Cocchiere says:

    This really is a trash article. It’s true that it’s up to you in the actual fight, but you have to remember who helped you get there. You’re only as good as the people you train with. Imagine a one man camp, it obviously would not get to far.

  10. Musa Muhammad says:

    This is ridiculous from start to finish. Your team is your team in MMA, BJJ, or Wrestling or any combat sport. Anyone who has on a true team proper know that you do more than just spar with people in a common space. You train with them, talk about your weaknesses, share your secrets, ask advice to improve your game, laugh with them, cheer them on, go to dinner together… your team is everything. The quality and character of your team shape who you are as a fighter or a practitioner just as your family and friends shape you into the person you are. Without a team you’re nothing.

  11. Tyler says:

    Look at pro hockey, football, basketball, any sport really. You have brothers that compete against one another. When it comes down to it Sport is competition. You compete to be the best not number 2. In the NHL Erik stall hit his own brother so hard he couldn’t play for nearly a year. His own brother. Point is team mate or not brother or not. Dodge each other untill the title. Then have a war to see who the best really is.

  12. Mike says:

    Team mates exist but it’s your decision if you choose to fight them or not. If it was me i wouldn’t want to train for years then be always #2 or be cut because i won’t fight a team mate who is #1.

  13. “Jon Jones went against the norm by saying he’d fight Rashad.”
    this is bullshit and all the drama behind it is bullshit. Evans was pissed Jones kicked Shogun’s ass and started acting like a child. Rashad took a little of what Jones said and used it to leverage publicity for the fight.

    “Welhani asked Jon about fighting Rashad because if Jones beat Shogun he’d be the title holder. A fight between the teammates could be called for by UFC president Dana White. His response was if that’s what Dana White asked for, he would fight him. But Jones reiterated that he wouldn’t want to fight him and it would be awkward for them both.

    That’s a far cry from saying, “I wanna fight Rashad,” but the statement still irked Evans because they vowed to never do it. From that moment on the relationship was never the same.

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