The biggest story in MMA this week came in the form of UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw’s somewhat surprising departure from his longtime Team Alpha Male, the exact place where he began his fight career under the tutelage of former WEC champion Urijah Faber.
“The California Kid” and “The Viper” became close friends during their time spent training together, but the seeds of discord were unfortunately sown when a rift erupted between Faber and former TAM head coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig.
When the feud spilled over into the media, it became clear that Dillashaw was in the middle of a back-and-forth personal disagreement like a child in the middle of a messy divorce. Even though Faber detailed a long list of troublesome occurrences that seemed to follow Ludwig around, it was clear that Dillashaw was no doubt the best fighter he could be thanks in large to Ludwig’s extensive striking knowledge.
So the champion took a lucrative deal with Elevation Fight Team in Colorado, where he’ll be paid to train rather than pay himself, and it obviously gives him an opportunity to train more with Ludwig, who owns his own gym nearby.
But even though those aspects may suggest Dillashaw is a fighter simply looking out for his own best interests in a game with an extremely short window of opportunity to make an impact, the timing probably couldn’t have been much worse, and it’s understandable that Faber is a little miffed at how the whole thing played out.
Perhaps the biggest result of the move was that it now opens a clear road for Faber and Dillashaw to finally throw down in their oft-discussed title bout, which was always put aside because they were teammates.
They aren’t anymore, and in a shallow bantamweight division, this is a fight that has to be made whether it’s for the title or not. Let’s take a look at five reasons why.