Midnight Mania! Former Team Alpha Male coach Justin Buckholz blames Urijah Faber’s ego for team’s decline

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Former Team Alpha Male head coach Justin Buckholz lays the blame for Cody Garbrandt’s abrupt fall from grace directly at the feet of the current coaching staff. He pointed out that when he was head coach, in 2016 when Garbrandt unseated Cruz for the belt, Cody wasn’t just planting and swinging wild. Via MMAFighting.com:

They make a situation that is kind of simple, way too simple,” Buchholz said. “They’re like, ‘Oh, he decided to throw caution to the wind.’ Well where was that guy, where was the guy who threw caution to the wind, kill or be killed, I’m just gonna go run across the cage holding my right hand out with my hands down, where was that guy when he fought Dominick Cruz?

. . . It’s not kill or be killed. It’s win this fight. Get the W. It just pisses me off when people say, ‘Oh he just got emotional. He just decided to do this.’ That’s all from training! That’s all from the camp. That’s all from the cues you receive from your coach.

Cody certainly wasn’t listening to his corner in the midst of the fight, but Buckholz argued that was down to the way his coaches handled his training leading up to the bout. Ultimately, he laid the blame for Team Alpha Male’s struggles at the feet of the gym’s founder, Urijah Faber.

If you think of it like football, it’s like the owner of the team got jealous of the head coach and then showed up on the field and started coaching instead of sitting back and kicking his feet up saying, ‘I started the team, I own the team, everything you do makes my shine brighter’” Buchholz said. “But some people can’t understand that because they can’t see past their own ego.

. . . You can say whatever you want but the results speak for themselves. Cody’s only fights against top-10 opponents are Pedro Munhoz, T.J. Dillashaw, and then Dominick Cruz, and Dominick Cruz was the best out of all of them and he master-classed him but he couldn’t get past those other guys. It has a lot to do with coaching, the program, it’s all that.

Faber removed Buckholz as head coach in 2017, before Garbrandt faced former Team Alpha Male scion TJ Dillashaw in a hot-blooded feud for the bantamweight title. Dillashaw was part of the original acrimonious split in TAM coaching, following head striking coach Duane ‘Bang’ Ludwig after Ludwig and Faber butted heads. Buckholz was on the TAM side of that split, but has since reconciled with Dillashaw. He said burying the hatchet with Faber and returning to his old job would not be happening, however.

Absolutely not. I would never go back to that gym. What I did there, I was there for 10 years. I was the first UFC fighter to fight out of Alpha Male. The social media, I did all of that. I started it from scratch. I made the Team Alpha Male Instagram, I ran that and it was the biggest team Instagram in the sport. . . The logo on all their shirts, I designed that logo. I was a huge part of that and I didn’t think that I ever, ever leave that. I thought that I was gonna die as head coach of Alpha Male but c’est la vie. Things don’t always work out the way you think they are and sometimes they turn out better for you.

For me to ever coach Alpha Male again, that door is closed. Urijah would have to lick my boot if he wanted me to go back in that gym and even then I don’t think I’d do it.


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