Gym: Team Quest/Xtreme Couture
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Martial Arts Background: Wrestling/Jiu Jitsu
Notable Fighters: Meisha Tate, Bryan Caraway, Tim Elliot, Kevin Lee
Robert Follis’ beginnings in martial arts
Robert Follis grew up in Oregon and from a young age he competed in wrestling. As he grew up, he continued to excel at the sport and win at every level he competed at.
Folis would train together with elite level wrestlers throughout his wrestling career. Including 2 Olympians and future MMA legends Dan Henderson and Matt Lindland.
After his wrestling career was over, Follis would go into business with some of his wrestling training partners. Getting into MMA and began learning Jiu Jitsu that was just starting to get big.
Robert Follis and Team Quest
Follis’ first coaching job in MMA was being the head coach of Team Quest in Portland, Oregon. The school was founded by Randy Couture and Dan Henderson, who brought Follis on to be the team’s head coach.
There he would continue training with Dan Henderson, Randy Couture, Matt Lindland, and Chael Sonnen.
During this time, Team Quest would become one of the elite MMA gyms in the world. Their high level wrestling games would pose a huge problem for their opponent’s. Especially so when they began developing their striking games.
Robert would be head coach of Team Quest for over a decade and helped the team’s fighters win numerous world titles.
Robert Follis moves to Xtreme Couture
Years after Randy Couture left Team Quest to open Xtreme Couture, he came to Robert with an offer. Xtreme Couture was struggling in the early 2010s and Randy wanted his old friend to come be the team’s head coach.
After spending years at Team Quest, Follis was up for a new challenge and took Couture’s offer. He would be tasked with bringing Xtreme Couture back to being a top gym and getting the business going again.
Not only would Follis grow the fight team, but the gym as a whole. When he came in there wasn’t a Jiu Jitsu program for non fighters or kids.
He immediately made corrections to the gym’s curriculum and changed the culture of Xtreme Couture. Not only was it a gym for fights, but also regular people that wanted to learn MMA and Jiu Jitsu.
The fight team would also have a new crop of talent like Miesha Tate, Kevin Lee, and Bryan Caraway.
Folli’s tragic suicide
A year after stepping down as head coach of Xtreme Couture, Robert Follis tragically took his own life. This shocked the MMA community and left everyone connected to Follis devastated.
He left behind numerous teammates, friends, and students that all loved him.
Robert had over 20 years experience as a coach and helped many of his fighters become world champions. Here is a short list of some of the all time greats that he coached.
UFC hall of famer Dan Henderson was actually one of the people responsible for making Follis Team Quest’s head coach. Later became a business partner as Follis became co-owner for a short time.
Follis was with Dan Henderson for much of his career before he left Team Quest in 2013. Being with Henderson through his run in Pride and his second stint in the UFC.
Dan’s first major title win would be against Murilo Bustamante for the Pride welterweight title in 2005. 2 years later he would win the Pride middleweight championship knocking out Wanderlei Silva in a classic bout.
After Pride closed, Henderson would go back to the UFC. He would go 3-2 during this run including his all time great KO of Michael Bisping at UFC 100.
Follis would stay with Dan through his 4-1 run in Strikeforce before moving to coach at Xtreme Couture.
Randy and Robert started out together and also created Team Quest along with Dan Henderson. Follis helped train Randy for just about his entire career.
He was there when Randy won all of his world titles. Couture would win his first two UFC heavyweight titles, his light heavyweight title, and comeback to win his 3rd heavyweight title.
Couture had a storied MMA career and Robert Follis was there for most of it. Helping Randy become one of the all time greats.
The last world champion Follis would train would be former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate. They had a really tight bond that developed after Follis took over as Xtreme Couture’s head coach.
Follis became Tate’s head trainer well into her career after her Strikeforce run. Tate was off to a rocky start in the UFC going 1-2 and needed a change.
Teaming with Follis seemed to breathe new life into Tate’s fighting career. After dropping her second loss to Ronda Rousey at UFC 168, Tate would go on an impressive run.
Going on a 4 fight win streak that included a win over Olympic wrestler Sara McMann. This would set her up against champion Holly Holm that just knocked out her rival Rousey.
Everyone was betting against Miesha going into the fight, but she would shock the world. In the 5th round, she was down on all of the scorecards and needed a finish to win the fight.
Tate was able to get Holm to the ground, take her back, and lock in an RNC to put the champ to sleep. Becoming the third champion in the history of the division.
Robert Follis’ legacy
Robert Follis’ life may have ended tragically, but he left behind a phenomenal legacy. He helped grow two different gyms into the best fight gyms in the world.
Training numerous world champions and top fighters in the sport. But his legacy was more than just a coach that trained a lot of great fighters.
Follis was a mentor and friend to numerous martial artists that love and miss him.