LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 30: Mixed martial arts trainer Greg Jackson holds the Coach of the Year award at the Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards 2011 at The Pearl concert theater at the Palms Casino Resort November 30, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Jackson-Winkeljohn Mixed Martial Arts is undoubtedly one of the most prominent MMA gyms in the sport today.
Home to some of the best fighters in the world including Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, interim welterweight champ Carlos Condit and top contenders such as Diego Sanchez, Clay Guida and Donald Cerrone, the gyms clientele is a who's who of elite fighters.
Even 170-pound kingpin Georges St. Pierre spends some mat time down in Albuquerque, New Mexico brushing up on his skills.
However, with all the success, comes criticism.
Greg Jackson, head trainer at the famed fight camp has come under scrutiny for implementing and instilling game plans that some would perceive as ‘cautious' and ‘non-aggressive' in order to coast to a victory. Jackson, however, says despite critiques coming out of the woodworks, it doesn't really bother him and his fighters and team's success speak for itself.
Now, one of Jackson's original students, Diego Sanchez, a fighter who is known for putting on exciting fights time after time, has come to the defense of his coaches, Mike Winkeljonh and Jackson, saying that all the criticism is unfair because at the end of the day, it's the athletes doing the fighting, not the coaches and it's up to them to step up and leave it all in the cage.
Check out the comments after the jump (via The MMA Hour)
"Those fighters, what they did in their performances, that's on them. Ultimately, that's on them. I think that coach Wink and Greg get a bad rap. I don't believe that they made them do that and even Greg Jackson said in the Clay Guida fight that he wanted him to be more aggressive and he wanted him to engage and attack more, but, you know that's just a touchy subject. I thought that both of those fights, I thought they sucked. My coaches can get mad at me if they want to for saying that, but, that is my opinion, man, I'm allowed to have my opinion. I thought Nick Diaz won the fight with Carlos and you know, when you're not engaging and you're not fighting, that takes away what this sport is. That's my opinion, that's why I hate fighting guys that run. I want to fight someone like a Diaz boy who will come and step right in front of you and fight you.
That is my opinion, but I believe the fans out there, that they have my back on this. That is what fighting is all about, it's for the fans. That's what this sport is about, it's about the fans. Dana White knows this that is why he gets so pissed off when there are those crappy fights like that. Us, as fighters, we need to step it up. If we want to continue getting take care of and paid right and build this sport to be the biggest sport in the world above all other sports, we have to get in the cage and leave it all in the cage every time. That fighter's performance is on that fighter. In the end, they lock the door and the coaches aren't in there with you. So, you're the one in the cage and it's on you to perform and if you're the UFC, you are a professional you paid your dues to the sport and you know exactly what this job entails. So you should go in there as a professional and do what you do. I would rather go out swinging, fighting like a warrior the last thirty seconds, I am going to leave it all in that cage and know that I am trying to finish my opponent. Even if most of the time it isn't going to be a finish because the guys are so tough, but, you know, that is why I am going in there and that is my goal. So, until the bell rings, that is what's on my mind."
Sanchez also said that the camp as a whole shouldn't be criticism because there are plenty of fighters at Jackson's who look for the finish and put on exciting fights:
"Don't give Greg and Wink a hard rap, because you know what? There are Jackson's fighters like me, there's Jackson's fighters like John, so many guys on the team that are just straight up warriors, getting in there and leaving it all in the cage. So don't give them a bad rap, they are the best in the sport."
Well, Maniac's, not much to say after that.
What are your thoughts on Diego's assessment of the criticism his camp has received? Do you agree that the majority of the blame should go to the fighters themselves and not the coaches and trainers?