‘Stressed out' Chad Mendes wants to stay away from the ‘drama set'
For several months, Team Alpha Male has been in the headlines for more than just fighting. The well-documented beef between Urijah Faber, T.J. Dillashaw and Duane Ludwig has drawn a lot of attention and given one of the main fighters at Team Alpha Male anxiety.
"It's something that's stressful and stresses me out," UFC featherweight Chad Mendes told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "It's something that I don't like being a part of. I love doing this as a sport. I got into this because I want to compete, and when all this stuff gets thrown into it, it's not fun for me and it's something I just don't want to be a part of."
Mendes last fought on Dec. 15 at The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale in Las Vegas, Nev. That night, the TAM member suffered a surprising first-round knockout loss to former UFC lightweight champion and top featherweight contender Frankie Edgar. Mendes can describe the outcome of that night in one sentence.
"I just got caught," Mendes said.
"I got connected on the nose. It was not like any crazy-solid punch," Mendes explained. "There was something that just wasn't right, you know. Whether that was the first fight I fought without using an I.V., you know, maybe the hydration process wasn't right. Maybe I took a little bit too much damage in that training camp than I should of or a little bit too much too late. I just felt like I've been hit way harder than that by so many other people and not been out. That was a flash that just graced my nose, really, and that's another thing that I felt was so frustrating for me. I know I'm better than that. Normally, that doesn't do that to me and it just sucks, but there is nothing you can do about it."
There are many factors and moving parts prior to a fight that can influence its outcome. The first time fighting under the I.V. ban and taking too much damage during the training camp are factors worth considering, but so is performing a training camp without a head coach.
"I mean obviously it's something that sucks to deal with," Mendes said. "This is an issue we've been dealing with for a little bit now. It's just tough being a part of it. It's just a lot to deal with as far as coaching goes. I mean, a lot of the coaches that are solid that have fought in the UFC or have a great system, already have a team. So it's tough for us in this division trying to find that perfect fit, someone that's done it, someone that's reputable, and someone that's not absolutely insane. There are a lot of factors that go into it.
"As of right now, we have Justin Buchholz who's always been an amazing coach and corner man... He's a brainiac in there so that's awesome, but we just lock that up. Going through this last fight camp, we didn't have a coach that was ours. We had a couple of people coming in, you know, just people in and out of the gym, all the time, trying to coach us. And it's like ‘I don't even know who you are, I have no respect as far as that goes as being my mentor,' so I mean it's just difficult. This is something we're going to work on and figure it out."
Although many Team Alpha Male members find themselves in Mendes' situation, others, like Joseph Benavidez, have decided to keep training with "Bang" Ludwig. But that's not something Mendes himself has thought about.
"I'm not considering it, but I don't have anything against these guys that want to go over there and train," he said. "I mean, there is a lot of negativity and stuff being said back and forth and people getting frustrated. And it's like, everyone is a grown-ass adult and people can make their own decisions and do what they want. I know what I need to do, I know what I'm going to do, and that's really all it matters in my life right now.
"I don't feel like it's a loyalty thing, I mean, that's them trying to better their lives. That's what they feel like they need, you know. It sucks just being in the middle of it but there is nothing I hold against those guys. I don't hold anything against 'Bang,' I am loyal to Faber, I love Faber like my brother, but I just basically want to stay away from that whole drama set."
When Ludwig was still part of Team Alpha Male, Mendes showed significant improvement in his striking in his fights with Nik Lentz and Jose Aldo. However, Mendes doesn't think is worth training under Ludwig if it amounts to distraction.
"I just feel like there is just too much drama between everything," he said. "I don't have anything against 'Bang.' There is nothing in my mind that makes me hate the guy or anything like that. I just feel like with him Faber and the whole drama thing is not worth me getting in the middle of it."
Mendes said he hopes one day the feud will end, and everyone will get on with their lives.
"It's like, ‘Dude, you guys are both doing this to each other. Just end it, it's fine, just go on with your lives. We don't have to hate each other — we can all still be friends,'" Mendes said.
Mendes is relieved that two of his close friends won't be asked to fight each other right now. Leading up to Boston's UFC Fight Night 81 on Jan. 17, it was believed that Faber was next in line for the winner between Dominick Cruz and Dillashaw. Now that Cruz defeated Dillashaw and is the new bantamweight champion, it's likely Faber draws Cruz next to complete the trilogy that started in 2007.
"I'm pretty glad [Dillashaw vs. Faber] is not going to happen," Mendes said. "I don't even know if I could watch the fight, honestly. It's not something I really want to see."
Ken Shamrock has desired Royce Gracie rematch for two decades to 'set things right'
You know the story already. You've probably heard it dozens of times.
The small, scrawny guy wearing a gi toppled the hulking, muscular favorite using a unique-at-the-time, ground-based attack. UFC 1 was your classic David vs. Goliath story.
Ken Shamrock, who lost to Royce Gracie in the semifinals of that inaugural event on Nov. 12, 1993, was Goliath. And ever since that day, all he has wanted was to alter the course of history slightly. Shamrock's tale is as old as that Biblical parable: it involves retribution and redemption.
Bellator will give Shamrock his shot 23 years after the fact in the main event of Bellator 149 Feb. 19 in Houston. It'll be Gracie vs. Shamrock all over again, a remake of the classic fight with both men maintaining their original roles.
"Everything I've wanted to set things right is right there," Shamrock told MMA Fighting. "All I've gotta do is just pick it up and go. That's what this is. That's the Gracie fight. I can [cherish] everything that this one fight happened. Everything. From the beginning to the end. It was started and it will end -- and I'm in control of that."
Sure, Shamrock got a rematch with Gracie at UFC 5 two years after the first bout. But that ended almost even more unacceptably. Shamrock was able to not get submitted in less than one minute like the first time, but all he was able to do was grind out a 36-minute draw. It still stands as the longest fight in UFC history.
So much has changed since in 20 years. Shamrock has retired multiple times, only to come back to face Kimbo Slice (a first-round KO loss) for Bellator back in June. Gracie, who had a comeback fight with the UFC in 2006, has not fought in eight years and was most recently filling a role as a brand ambassador for Bellator. Shamrock is 51 years old; Gracie is 48.
The announcement that the two would be meeting again at their advanced ages brought groans from some and eye rolls from others. UFC president Dana White said recently that two "50-year-olds" fighting each other was "crazy." Shamrock disagrees. He labels those expounding negativity about the fight "trolls."
"If I can't pass a physical or Royce can't pass a physical, then by all means -- I am all for it -- we can't fight," Shamrock said. "But if you're asking us to go out there and do anything another kid can do -- if someone passes the physical at that age, I think he's earned that right to go in there and fight and do anything he wants to do. It's just people who want to be angry, that just have nothing in life."
As much as Shamrock has accomplished in both mixed martial arts and pro wrestling -- he was a WWE star for years -- there is an empty place for him when it comes to certain opponents. Slice was one of those. So is Tito Ortiz. But Gracie? The biggest and it's not even close.
"There's a lot of fights out there that I wanted," Shamrock said. "I kept saying I wanted them, but for whatever reason I never got them. It is what it is. But the bottom line is I'm getting it now. It's fine with me. I'm not going to question it. I'm glad I got it."
Ever since Shamrock returned to the MMA scene as a Bellator brand ambassador, he has been asking for the Gracie rematch. He told Bellator president Scott Coker and, really, anyone who would listen. When Coker told Shamrock that Gracie officially accepted the offer, Shamrock felt like it was the great gift -- and opportunity -- he has ever been given.
"I could have jumped through the wall," Shamrock said. "It's like something you could touch and you know if you just get it, your world will be changed. Like everything would be OK if you just got the chance to turn things around. And you know with everything you are and with everything you breathe, all you've gotta do is wakeup and do it and things will change. But you can't get it to come to the table. You can't get them to talk with you. You can't seem to get things going. So therefore, it's lost. But then to turn around once when you wake up and you have it all sitting right there at the table -- it's all ready to go, it's there. All you've gotta do is just go.
"That's what it's like with this fight. It's like my whole life is sitting at the table and all I've gotta do is just go."
Morning Report: Miesha Tate says Ronda Rousey 'mentally beat herself' against Holly Holm
Miesha Tate isn't a believer in "MMA math."
Where Ronda Ronda famously failed against Holly Holm at UFC 193, Tate plans to prove the old adage that styles make fights.
With Rousey on the shelf until November, Tate gets another crack at the UFC women's bantamweight title March 5 at UFC 196 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"I think Ronda went into that fight with Holly thinking, 'If I don't finish this girl in under two minutes, I'm already a failure,' and she went in there with such desperation to get a quick finish," Tate told FOX Sports. "She had 25 minutes to get that fight to the ground and submit Holly. I think Ronda is capable of that, but I think she mentally beat herself up after not being able to do that in the first round. Hey it's OK, you have 20 more minutes, like, relax for a second.
"She just went out there like a charging bull in a china shop and she allowed Holly to play the perfect game plan. Holly was the matador, Ronda was the bull. The bull fell victim."
Tate says she plans to drag Holm into deep water by using the championship rounds to her advantage. Tate's toughness got her into a third round with Rousey, lasting longer than any of "Rowdy's" ten other opponents.
Holm, Rousey and UFC president Dana White are all banking on a fall rematch that could be "the biggest fight in UFC history," but Tate looks to play spoiler.
"I think they're going to regret the decision after the fact," Tate said of UFC making the booking with Holm. "Like, 'Man, we really wanted to step up, we wanted to prove that we're the best in the world as champion,' but I'm going to spoil those plans.
"They know this is a huge step up in competition. They know that stylistically, I think everyone believes that I'm a more challenging style for Holly. I present different problems."
Tate challenges Holm March 5 at UFC 196: Dos Anjos vs. McGregor in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Get well soon.
— Coach (@CMPunk) February 10, 2016
I did my first mountain run since the fight today. My foot is pretty banged up still, Felt good to get up there ... https://t.co/gF4qII6a7k
— Carlos Condit (@CarlosCondit) February 11, 2016
Guys. It's all good. The fight is still on. Minor surgery. I wish @CMPunk a healthy & speedy recovery. I want you at 100%, check that, #200
— Mickey Gall (@mickeygall) February 10, 2016
Back in town.
#TeamAKA today.. Great having @TeamKhabib , his brother Murat, @RicoVerhoeven & his coaches in this afternoon! pic.twitter.com/uEhZSdoQvg
— AKA HQ (@AKA_HQ) February 10, 2016
Me and Big Country would be a good fun fight for the fans.It wouldn't be a track meet #ijustwanttobangbroNohomo #ufc
— Derrick Lewis (@Thebeast_ufc) February 10, 2016
FIGHT FANS @ufc #ufc197 @Thebeast_ufc vs @roynelsonmma @MMAjunkie @arielhelwani @mmamania #ask&received @danawhite pic.twitter.com/O1ioyG6DkL
— Roy Nelson (@roynelsonmma) February 11, 2016
If I can't get Roy Nelson feed me that other Poland guy name Daniel
— Derrick Lewis (@Thebeast_ufc) February 11, 2016
Can't wait till I get an opponent! Who do you wanna see me fight??
— Carla Esparza (@CarlaEsparza1) February 9, 2016
How about me? Let's do this fight on #UFCRotterdam !!! Bring it on @seanshelby https://t.co/Ekx1bEijap
— KarolinaKowalkiewicz (@KarolinaMMA) February 10, 2016
Gotta be trolling.
I AM COMING @JoshLBarnett THE PACT IS OVER
— MAYHEM MILLER IND. (@mayhemmiller) February 11, 2016
Jason "Mayhem" Miller comes out of retirement to fight Josh Barnett in I... https://t.co/8BX1GrJ7fS via YouTube
— MAYHEM MILLER IND. (@mayhemmiller) February 11, 2016
Goodnight everyone pic.twitter.com/X2eWqhRSig
— Sage Northcutt (@sagenorthcutt) February 11, 2016
Announced yesterday (Feb. 10 2016)
Rin Nakai vs. Leslie Smith at UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Mir
Ben Nguyen vs. Justin Scoggins at UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Mir
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Max Holloway: A fight with Jose Aldo in Hawaii would be 'ideal'
LAS VEGAS -- Max Holloway talks to the media at UFC Fight Night 82 about his injuries, the featherweight division, Rafael dos Anjos vs. Conor McGregor, UFC going to Hawaii, and much more.