Never mix business with friendship.
In the world of mixed martial arts (MMA), that can be related to the fact that fighting, like any other sport, is a business, but friendships are often forged among fighters and training partners throughout their careers.
However, what happens, when that same person you have shared your blood, sweat and tears with, reaches the next level, is now the king of the hill?
What then? Do you dare compete against the very person who trained countless hours side by side with you to help reach the pinnacle of the sport? Is it worth it to risk your friendship to obtain the very thing he has and you want, which is a world title?
Many fighters and MMA camps of today have emphatically stated that they will never, ever, fight against one of their training partners, even if it comes at the expense of never capturing Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) gold. You need not look further than the whole Jon Jones and Rashad Evans friendship gone bad to see just how quickly a good relationship can turn sour when there is championship glory at stake.
Yet, not all fighters seem to share the same sentiments that one should not fight their friends and training partners. Diego Sanchez and Carlos Condit, both members of the famed Jackson-WinkleJohn Mixed Martial Arts gym in Albuquerque, N.M., are two of them.
Appearing on The MMA Hour today, Sanchez revealed that should the opportunity arise for he and "The Natural Born Killer" to scrap for Condit's UFC interim welterweight title, they would have no issues doing so:
"We've all talked about this, the coaches, me and Carlos, we are absolutely fine fighting each other. It is something that has always been talked bout. We are willing to cross that bridge if that bridge presents itself. We both want UFC gold, that's what we want for our family and have always wanted even as little kids, we have always wanted this. We are willing to do that. This all started with Rashad and Jon Jones. If we have to fight each other we will fight each other. Me and Carlos would be a war, we both know our strengths and weaknesses and it would be a great fight. If it happens it happens."
Straying away from the popular believes of such camps as American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), in which top-flight welterweights Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch and Mike Swick have always stated that not even the chance to win UFC gold would make them fight each other, Jackson's camp seems to take the "fighting is a business" approach.
Condit became the interim UFC welterweight champion by defeating Nick Diaz this past weekend (Feb. 4, 2012) at UFC 143 via unanimous decision and is expected to take on Georges St. Pierre upon his return from surgery rehab. Sanchez, on the other hand, is penciled in to take on Jake Ellenberger on UFC on Fuel TV on Feb. 15, 2012, in Omaha, Neb., and a win could possibly get him closer to a meeting with Condit should GSP's return be prolonged.
What's your take maniacs, do you find it refreshing to see training partners willing to put friendship aside for 25 minutes inside the Octagon? Or do you feel that nothing is worth risking true friendship ties?