UFC's Fabio Maldonado splits from longtime training camp Team Nogueira

Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE

Fabio Maldonado is no longer a member of Team Nogueira after a number of issues forced him to leave the training camp he was a part of since 2004.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight Fabio Maldonado has parted ways with Team Nogueira, a training camp he was a member of for almost a decade dating back to 2004.

Unfortunately, it's not a peaceful separation, either, as the five-fight UFC veteran got into a disagreement with former interim UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira about Maldonado's wishes to open a gym of his own with the Team Nogueira branding.

The disagreement has turned messy, and Maldonado has made the choice to air his grievances to the media in a recent interview with Brazilian news outlet Combate (translation via Fighters Only).

His words:

"I told Rogerio [Lil Nog] and Eric [Lobao] that I would start an academy but they pretended not to hear me. They would not let me use the name, but others used it for many years," he says.

"Everybody wants to use ‘Team Nogueira.' He let everybody use that name all over Brazil. They have nothing to say about people not being able to use the name. You take an academy in [a provincial backwater like] Belem do Para, the guy uses it and nobody tells him otherwise.

"Anything they say different from that is a lie. I tell in their faces. I even negotiated, saying ‘well, there are people who used the brand already for more than two years. They told me I couldn't and that the guys who used Team Nogueira's name were hand-picked and that I wasn't one of them.

"They let guys use the name without paying, but not me. [Feijao] was three, four years using it for free, since 2009 Team Nogueira's name is used in Sorocaba. I was speaking mainly with [Rogerio] Minotouro and Eric Lobao but they were pretending they weren't understanding me. It would have been easier to tell the truth and say they let Feijao use it and wouldn't be letting me use it."

That's not all, though.

Maldonado also states in the interview that Team Nogueira fighters such as Rafael Cavalcante and Erick Silva were not required to pay gym fees while he did, and also recounted a story where former middleweight champion Anderson Silva shamed him at a team dinner for not taking a UFC fight on one week's notice despite the fact he was 33 pounds overweight.

The 33-year-old goes into further details regarding the situation and other problems he had with the inner workings of the team, which makes the entire interview worth checking out.

Nogueira wasn't just going to stand silently and let Maldonado take shots at his team. And the former PRIDE and interim UFC champion provided a rebuttal with his own side of the story.

"Maldonado built his own academy, with another brand, with another name, opening a possibility for us to begin our own branch in the city [Sorocaba]. It was a situation which Feijao had interest, came in and made the deal. How could I say no to Feijao?" says Big Nog.

"I missed him, when he left the professional team [in Rio], but this wasn't about training, it was about the franchise gym. The branch over there is Rafael Feijao's... I don't participate much in the commercial side [of Team Nogueira]. I am completely from the technical part. In financial and commercial department I am nobody.

"Maldonado had an opportunity, brought people to make part of the franchise, but it was Feijao who concluded the deal and bought the franchise. It totally was the commercial aspect that dictated it. It was not something personal between Maldonado, Feijao and me, far from it. All commercial dealings don't pass through me."

Where the real truth lays in the situation is a judgment that's difficult to make with such little information, but it's very likely it is somewhere in the middle.

Regardless, Maldonado will move forward with his career and look for another gym while Team Nogueira will continue to be one of, if not the most successful training camp in all of Brazil.

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