American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) fighters are known for going hard when it comes to training and sparring sessions.
Just ask Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White, who recently criticised the team for staying in the "stone age" with their training methods, which according to the UFC head honcho may be the reason his heavyweight champion and AKA-team member, Cain Velasquez, has been injured so often.
Something Cain wholeheartedly disagrees with.
So when news broke that Khabib Nurmagomedov had suffered another knee injury that forced him out of his lightweight fight against Donald Cerrone for the second time in the last year, the immediate assumption was to blame another hard training session.
"He was sparring and no contact was actually made. He took a step back and as he stepped back, his knee went out on him. It was the same knee, and the thing is, when he came to training he was about 90% (recovered) so we were trying to work around the surgery. It just didn't hold."
According to Ariel Helwani, Khabib underwent successful knee surgery earlier earlier this week and is expected to return this October.
In the meantime, John Makdessi will step in for Nurmagomedov to face "Cowboy" at the upcoming UFC 187 pay-per-view (PPV) event on May 23, 2015. As for White's criticism of AKA, Mendez didn't take it personally, saying he does agree that all camps should educate themselves a bit more as to how prevent injuries.
"It is a freak accident. As far as Dana White's comments go, he didn't mean anything like that. All he's saying is that we as a sport need to watch our fighters and be more careful. We need to update and educate ourselves to become better coaches for our fighters, because without a healthy fighter, no one wins. So Dana's comments were not meant as a bad remark toward AKA. it's just in general. us coaches need to be careful."
Or at least we hope.