Money talks, so UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw (pictured) walked.
Dillashaw shocked the MMA world Tuesday when it was reported he was leaving Team Alpha Male, the MMA squad that nurtured him for six years which resulted in a UFC title, to create a brand new Elevation Fight Team at the MusclePharm facility in Colorado.
Why would Dillashaw leave an established team with a stable full of studs to start anew just months before the biggest fight of his life?
It just didn’t make any sense. Well, it made dollars and that’s why it made sense for Dillashaw.
“Elevation Fight Team came to me and they want to pay me some good money to train with them,” Dillashaw said said on last night’s episode of Stud Show Radio. “They’re offering to pay me to train, instead of me paying to train. This sport is growing so much that that’s the way I feel like it should be. We’re professional athletes. I feel like I got treated better in college wrestling. I had a physical therapist on hand at all times, no matter what, when I was in college. And that’s not where MMA is at yet.”
Dillashaw training at MusclePharm isn’t anything new. He spotlighted the fact that he has had to travel between Team Alpha Male in Sacramento and Denver for his past few camps, stockpiling bills that simply didn’t make sense anymore.
Dillashaw had to pay for flights, housing, coaches, training partners, etc. Now, Dillashaw says MusclePharm has built a “bad ass” gym that holds everything he needs under one roof.
It may not have been a popular decision, but it was one Dillashaw felt he needed to make considering the small window MMA fighters have to score substantial money. Take into consideration that sponsorship dollars aren’t what they used to be, even prior to the UFC’s new Reebok deal, and the decision was practically made for the 29-year-old.
“If anybody else was in my situation, they would take the exact same deal,” Dillashaw said. “This is a very short-lived career. I have to do what’s best for myself. I have to do what’s best for my career and being on top for as long as possible. I can’t fight forever. I’ve gotta fight and secure my future and decide what I’m gonna do with my life. This is a great opportunity.”
We’ll find out January 17 if Dillashaw’s decision pays off in the cage as much as it does in his bank account when he defends his throne against former champ Dominick Cruz in Boston.