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?
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:
Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
“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.”
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.