Not long ago, The Blackzilians, who were based out of the Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida, were one of the biggest and most successful teams in MMA. Home to names like Rashad Evans, Michael Johnson, Kamaru Usman, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, Alistair Overeem, Stefan Struve, and Vitor Belfort, the team’s success even earned them a spot opposite American Top Team on a special season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Today, however, The Blackzilians team is fractured, as owner Glenn Robinson has sold their original training facility, and inner drama has pulled the team and coaching staff in different directions. On Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour, former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans gave an update on the state of the team, and things are not looking good.
“The fact is that the team is splintered,” Evans told host Ariel Helwani. “The team is fragmented. It just became a very hard thing for Glenn [Robinson] to keep his grasp on as far as keeping everybody together. [Coach] Henry Hooft wanted to grow his brand and do his own thing and it just wasn’t matching up with where Glenn wanted to go. That’s part of the fragment, and another part of it is that, you know, we didn’t have a gym anymore. Our gym was sold, and Glenn was supposed to build another gym, and I guess they moved into a temporary gym, and there was some kind of falling out with the temporary gym, so then part of the team stayed at the temporary gym, and then the other half of the team, or more than half of the team, went with Henry. I was one of those guys who went with Henry. At the end of the day, I got so sick and tired of having to go to the gym and having to put out these fires, and so much drama, and everybody jockeying and pushing for position. I’m just like ‘yo, I just want to train man.’ And there’s a lot of other guys who just want to train, and that’s what the team was made for, so we could have a great training environment. But when you start bringing everything else into it, and all the drama, then it just got exhausted. Now, the state of the Blackzilians are, I guess there really is no Blackzilians if its all in the namesake. But for the most part, most of the people who were training at the Blackzilians, we’re still training together.”
“I don’t want to say it’s not a thing anymore,” he continued. “I don’t want to put the stamp on it to say it’s not a thing anymore, but it’s definitely not what it used to be. That’s for sure. It’s definitely not what it used to be. Some of the other guys, they started their own team.”
Evans went on to explain what he knows about this new team, but was clearly short on details.
“I think it’s called Team Fuji or something. I was looking on Instagram and I was looking at some of their pictures. I was like, ‘I guess they called themselves Team Fuji.” I don’t know why, I don’t even know what that is.”
Finally, however, Evans reaffirmed that many of the Blackzilians stars are still training together under Hooft, though their former team identity has just about fizzled out entirely.
“Most of us, we all still stay together,” he continued. “[Anthony Johnson] is still with us, Michael Johnson, [Kamaru] Usman, Gilbert “Durinho” [Burns], all those guys, I mean we all pretty much stayed together. Some of them just went their own way. Are we going to pick a new name? I don’t know. We’re just kind of doing the training right now and not worrying about that. You gotta understand Ariel, there was so much drama. It was worse than 10 high schools put together. There was a bunch of gossiping and shit… It was really a buzz kill even going to the gym.”
Are you surprised the Blackzilians team is no longer thriving? Sound off, PENN Nation!