Urijah Faber Reacts To Team Alpha Male Head Coach Stepping Down

Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Team Alpha Male coach Justin Buchholz made headlines earlier this week when he announced that he would be stepping down as head coach of the Sacramento based MMA gym. His new role would be as the lead Muay Thai coach.

His announcement was a bit surprising, to say the least, due to the fact that he is one of the most successful runs in the gym’s history over the past two years including Cody Garbrandt claiming the UFC bantamweight title at UFC 207.

It appears that Buchholz’s claims may not be true. Urijah Faber discussed what happened with Buchholz during a recent appearance on the Slip ‘n Dip podcast (transcript courtesy of MMA Fighting).

The former UFC title contender brought up how it was actually Buchholz who approached him about moving into a more Muay Thai role and that he would still be happy with Buchholz as the lead coach of the gym.

“Honestly it hasn’t been much of a change. I think that’s more of a personal viewpoint of Buchholz. What we have been able to do is hire more coaches and thank goodness for Mountain Lion Aviation. It’s been awesome having them support us, and we brought more guys on, Chris Holdsworth, Danny Castillo, coach Joey Rodriguez, myself, and the existing coaches Fabio Prado and Justin Buchholz.

“I think Justin is maybe having a little trouble with having more guys in on practice, etc. It was kinda his idea for him to step into more of a kickboxing role. I’d love for him to be as a head coach. There’s a lot of guys that he will be a lead coach for and there’s a lot of guys that won’t have him as a lead coach. So it’s not necessarily like a shaking up, everything is pretty much the same.”

Buchholz went on record by stating that the change happened while he was taking his professional fight in two years when he was in Alaska. He added that the system he implemented at the gym had been changed once he returned from that fight. The new system was that he was one of five head coaches and that he no longer ran the MMA practices at the gym.

“He did take off to Alaska and was kinda on his time period for that. He took off and actually took a fight and came back and things were actually going smoothly. It’s business as usual for us though. We have like 5-6 coaches in each practice. We have, I don’t know how many guys we have fighting in the UFC now, but from Sage Northcutt, Cynthia Calvillo, we just got a bunch of new guys coming in from all over the globe. It’s a time when we need a lot of hands on deck.”

“He can call himself whatever he wants. Head coach is still a position for him, but he’s thinking more of a kickboxing role for himself.”

Garbrandt will be defending his belt against the man who brought Team Alpha Male their first UFC belt, T.J. Dillashaw, in the co-main event of this Saturday’s UFC 217 PPV (pay-per-view) event. Dillashaw is coached by Duane Ludwig, another former head coach of Team Alpha Male who had a falling out with Faber.

“Yeah, it’s a little weird. I’ll talk to him after this fight week and see what’s going with his head, but it is what it is. We’re firing on all cylinders, and it’s been amazing time for Cody and the whole team.”