Out of all the interesting accusations that Cody Garbrandt and Team Alpha Male have leveled at TJ Dillashaw lately, the most controversial is that he basically ended a training partner's career by kneeing him in the head during a sparring session. While TJ has laughed off a lot of the other stories, he did take offense to this particular tale and denied it emphatically on The MMA Hour.
“They said I got submitted by Chris Holdsworth, and then I kneed him in the back of the head while he was grounded and after the round, whatever it may be,” Dillashaw told Ariel Helwani. “So you’re telling me I’m kneeing people in the back of the head in between rounds and ruining their careers, but you want me to stay on your team?"
"You’re not going to kick me off the team, you led the fight for me to stay on the team and you’re angry that I left. How does that make any sense whatsoever? If I’m a loose cannon like that, how would that make any sense whatsoever, how would you be angry at me? if that was the case, if I was doing those kind of things, I should be kicked off the team. Instantly. There’s no way that would be something that is acceptable.”
The nugget of truth in this story may come from Dillashaw's reputation as a hard sparrer, something he claims was instilled in him during his Team Alpha Male days.
“Have I been overly aggressive in some sparring sessions? Yes, I have,” Dillashaw admitted. “There’s things, there’s punches and things I’ve thrown that’s been too aggressive and I’ve gotten to where I’ve had to tell myself, yeah, I shouldn’t have done that, kind of thing. But I’ve never blatantly ever deliberately kneed someone in the back of the head and tried to end their career. I’ve gotten too aggressive in sparring, which we all have.”
“I got thrown into the lion’s den when I got to Alpha Male. My first sparring session was with Joe Benavidez, Chad Mendes and those guys, just bleeding from my face, its not like they took it easy on me. It was one of those things where we sparred 3-4 days a week, and we got thrown in there and that’s what made me as tough as I am.”
With TJ and Cody at the top of the bantamweight division for years to come, we doubt even their fight on November 4th at UFC 217 will mark the end of these kinds of stories. We've got to admit, for a feud that once looked like wolf tickets to us, Team Alpha Male really does seem to hate Dillashaw.