Dana White Explains His Frustration Towards AKA


UFC president Dana White is still unhappy with AKA…

American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California is one of the most successful MMA teams around. Housing former two-time heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, ex-middleweight boss Luke Rockhold and current 205-pound title holder Daniel Cormier, AKA is legit. Although they have all this talent, including top ranked lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov and many others, AKA is lamented by some. Using ‘The Eagle’ as an example, between October 2013 and March 2016, he fought just once. Numerous injuries and surgeries have seen Nurmagomedov pull out of three scheduled fights over the course of 13 months at one stage.

Facing similar circumstances, Velasquez, Cormier and to an extent Rockhold have all been somewhat injury prone. Looking to the source, many point the finger of blame at their camp, AKA, and their training methods. It’s no secret the San Jose gym puts on some serious brawls in sparring for fights. Although other gyms also push their fighters hard, the injury rate at AKA seems significantly higher. Given the high calibre of fighters the gym churns out, they are obviously doing many things right. Are they simply a victim of circumstance and/or bad fortune?

daniel cormier

Dana White on AKA

Speaking with Sports Illustrated this week, UFC president Dana White believes AKA makes their own luck. Pulling no punches, he calls out the gym for ‘staggering numbers’ of injuries:

“Some of the gyms we did (addressed over training). With others it’s as bad as ever. Listen, guys at AKA get injured every single fight. Luke Rockhold is out. Khabib [Nurmagomedov] got hurt there training. Then you have Cain Velasquez. The champ, Daniel Cormier is hurt.

I don’t know, man. We started doing these seminars and stuff.  They’re receptive to it. But I don’t know. Where there’s smoke there’s fire, man. Staggering numbers.”

Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Dana Would Let His Kids Fight

Talking more about injuries, Dana White reveals he would rather his kids fight in MMA than play football:

“Absolutely. My kids play f—ing football. My son broke his collarbone, first game of the season, broke his collarbone. Believe me, I would prefer them to fight, but they love football. I’m one of those guys, whatever your passion is, I will get behind you and let you do it, even though it’s so dangerous. It’s what they love to do.

Absolutely. All my kids have trained. Even my daughter. My daughter has trained. They’ve all trained, MMA, done it since they were little. They never had the passion for it. I definitely wouldn’t want them to fight if they weren’t passionate about it. You got to love fighting to fight.”

Judging by White’s comments on AKA, he still has a lot of unresolved issues with that camp. Will Javier Mendez’s elite squad change their training methods, or will they continue as they have been for many years? One thing is for sure-Dana White would love his kids to fight in MMA, but he might not advise them to join AKA.

  • Melissa Marie Totino

    Jackson Wink has way more talented fighters and they don’t pull out of fights because of injuries like AKA does. There’s something wrong there.

    • spacemtn61

      AKA despite their name has a heavy concentration on wrestling. Jackson/Wink is more about stick and move type of combat. That’s why so many of their fighters get accused of “running” because most people don’t realize that counter striking is the best way to fight. They inflict way more damage than they take.

      • Melissa Marie Totino

        That’s actually not true. Jackson Wink is an MMA gym. All fighters take classes in all disciplines. They have a wrestling coach, jiu-jitsu coach, etc. Most of their main fighters don’t even do sparring until about a week or so before the fight. Most AKA fighters get hurt doing hard sparring. And I’m sorry, the only Jackson Wink fighter I’ve ever seen run is Overeem lol.

        • McGraw

          Carlos Condit ran from Nick Diaz.

    • james

      I wouldn’t say Jackson has better fighters. They are just cutting edge with everything as far as philosophy and conditioning. AKA has a very high per capita talent pool. These are also guys who have been through a lot fights in other sports and have miles on the tires before even entering mma.

      Over training is definitely real. You have to spar hard enough to know what it feels like to be put in deep water but, there is a point it is adding more miles than gaining advantage.

  • ernesto chavez

    It would be interesting to know which top fight camps have less injuries. This could lead to other camps incorporating similar training to reduce training related injuries.

    • McGraw

      American Top Team?

  • Chuba Oyolu

    Yeah… there have been a bunch of injuries from AKA in San Jose. Probably because they go hard and simulate real fights in training. I wonder what Jackson Wink does because they have a bevy of amazing fighters as well. Jon Jones, Holy Holm, Cowboy Cerrone, John Dodson, etc.

  • Anita

    Jackson Wink is by far the better gym, all the fighters there at the top, and no injuries. Maybe aka should take pointers from them for less injuries.