Matt Serra made headlines earlier this week when he confirmed he’s seen the tape of Garbrandt knocking out TJ Dillashaw in practice. The teammates turned rivals have been going back and forth publicly about the existence of this tape ever since their fight was announced back in June. TMZ even apparently offered Alpha Male head coach, Justin Bucholz $50,000 for a copy of said tape. Now that Matt Serra, a respected, neutral, third party has weighed in it looks like Garabrant and crew we’re telling the truth. A bit of a hollow victory seeing as this whole spectacle has cast Alpha Male and Garbrandt in a somewhat negative light. It’s an unspoken rule that you don’t publicly talk about stuff like this especially in the media. And beyond that it’s most likely not a reputation you want for your gym when you’re hoping to attract young new talent.
Garbrandt went on UFC Unfiltered today, and in an attempt to clear the air he ended up making the gym culture at Alpha Male sound even worse, “I remember that day, like four people got knocked out. Justin knocked somebody out, I knocked TJ out. But that’s the only thing, you know, it’s practice.” Not exactly dispelling the stigma that Team Alpha Male has a very headstrong bro mentality.
And that’s not to say hard nosed sparring isn’t the way to go, hard to argue with the results as they’ve produced two of the four UFC Bantamweight champions and have plenty more who have fought for belts. Not to mention they’re hardly the first to gain this reputation, during the pride era gyms like Chute Boxe were infamous for their gym wars and they produced guys like Wanderlei and Shogun. But the sentiment around training is changing these days as the issue of brain trauma and CTE have come to the forefront of conversation. The belief in full blast sparring is giving way to, as John Kavanagh would say, “Upgrading your software without damaging your hardware.” You may not develop as quickly that way but if you want a long healthy life filled with proper annunciation and solid foods you probably don’t want four concussions a day in practice.