You often hear of fighters leaving their mixed martial arts (MMA) camps due to rifts and/or other reasons, but lately, it seems that trend has been leading to coaches doing the exact same thing.
A few days after Urijah Faber declared that Duane Ludwig's departure from Team Alpha Male to start his own gym in Colorado was like a "breath of fresh air" due to some "confusion" and "friction" between the two, news comes out of Boca Raton, Florida, that Kenny Monday -- longtime wrestling coach of the Blackzilians -- has parted ways with the camp.
Monday spoke to Yahoo! Sports about his release from the team and admits he was "blindsided" by the decision.
"It wasn't my decision, it was [Blackzilians manager] Glenn Robinson's decision. I was blindsided by [the release]. I really don't know what his reason is. I don't know if they are struggling financially, or what it is. I'm not sure what's going on here. He wasn't man enough to come talk to me himself. Life goes on."
"I was at practice today. We had practice today. I got to talk to just a couple fighters but not most of them. My guys are unbelievable. They work hard and respond well to coaching. We've done well. The team has gotten better. Just look at our performances. From Vitor, to Rashad, to Abel Trujilo, to Eddie Alvarez. I'm not sure what the issue is. I'm sure a lot of fighters don't know yet. I was at practice today. I got to talk to just a couple fighters but not most of them, yet. I don't know, I guess it's breaking news. I have nothing to hide. I gave my heart to this program. I uprooted my family for this from Oklahoma and moved to Florida for this. It was one of the toughest decisions I've made."
Monday, a former three-time Olympian, joined the Blackzilians in 2013, leaving his position as head coach of the Oklahoma State University (OSU) wrestling program after inking a three-year contract with the MMA camp.
Admitting that leaving OSU was a "gut-wrenching" decision, Monday says his release from the Blackzilians squad is just as bad, only this time, it wasn't his decision.
While Monday is adamant it was Blackzilian manager Glen Robinson's decision to release him, Robinson told MMA Fighting that it was Jorge Santiago's decision, not his own, seeing as how Santiago was indeed Monday's boss.
According to Rashad Evans -- who also spoke to MMA Fighting -- it's been something brewing between the two sides for quite some time.
"It's something that has been kind of brewing with things not working out with Kenny and the management. It reached its limit. It became hard to work with him. I was Kenny's biggest backer. I did my best to be the mediator, but when you have strong personalities going head to head it doesn't make for a good resolution. We all consult about everything. When they came to me about it, I had no choice but to support my team about the decision that was being made."
For now, Monday says he is weighing his options, which includes offers to join other MMA camps and head coaching jobs at other universities.
Monday, however, isn't the first member of the Blackzilians to split from the squad, as Melvin Guillard and Alistair Overeem parted ways on their own (see their reasons here and here), prior to Kenny's release.
A sign of things to come?