Faber on Dillashaw split from Team Alpha Male: “He walked away from the family that brought him up”

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

As it turns out, Urijah Faber’s not all that pleased with T.J. Dillashaw.

Though the UFC Bantamweight Champ’s move to Colorado came with some brief supportive words from Faber earlier this week, the former WEC Champ and head of Team Alpha Male expressed his true feelings on the matter this week during an appearance on The Stud Show Radio podcast.

“It’s been hard for everybody,” Faber said (transcribed by MMAFighting.com). “It’s been really uncomfortable. Obviously, it’s a weird situation. I never really saw it coming… He’s talking about how it’s an amazing opportunity money-wise or whatever. Pfff, you gotta be kidding me, dude. You could dedicate yourself to mowing lawns for Sanchez Carlino’s business and make the same amount of money if you do it full time.

“I come to find out later there’s a guy Leister or something like that,” he continued. “He’s a recruiter or wrestling coach or something like that who has been talking to Cody [Garbrandt] and trying to get Cody to come out. Basically trying to chicken hawk guys and apparently there’s an article where he said something like, ‘I had a heart-to-heart with T.J.,’ granted, he’s worked with him half of one camp – ‘and I told him it’s about time you do something for yourself. It’s about time you do something selfish.’ We all know T.J. He gives back to the team, but he’s also about no. 1. And I’m thinking, ‘Who the hell is this guy who’s giving him life advice and barely knows him, that he needs to do something for himself and come train with him?'”

Faber also essentially closed the door on any part time return from Dillashaw, and threw out some accusations about his conduct in the cage.

“When you have a family environment, you have people that have different little issues. T.J.’s thing has been that he has a bad temper and he hurts people in practice and does stuff. He’s got a temper and doesn’t hold back sometimes,” Faber said. “I’m like, ‘It doesn’t make sense for you to come in and spar with our guys.’ And they’ve got Dominick Cruz who has been out his whole life, basically, because he’s not made for combat. I’m 1-1 with that guy and T.J. hasn’t fought him yet. I turned down the fight with him twice. Dana [White] called me and said, ‘What if I said I don’t want you to fight this guy? I want you to fight T.J. for the belt.’

“[I told Dana] ‘Man, I just don’t think I can do it.'”

“I heard T.J. say he gotten taken care of better in college than he does here, whatever that means. That’s ridiculous. He said he wants to come back and be a part of our team, but he made a big boy decision. He walked away from the family that brought him up, the guys who were a big part of his success.”

“From him making a business decision to go somewhere he feels is going to be better for him, that’s not the right message for the championship team I’m trying to build,” he continued later. “That’s not the right message for the little kids to see someone you built into a champion and then he walks away. That’s not a right message when you’re letting him come in and spar guys when he loses self control and actually injures people sometimes.

“Friendship is a different thing and that’s through actions. You earn that over time and I would say that T.J. is my friend. I hope he beats the s*** out of Dominick Cruz because I don’t like Dominick Cruz. I like T.J. But he made a decision to walk away and that’s a big boy decision. It’s gotta be cut and dry.”

Penick’s Analysis: I can understand the frustration for Faber, but talking up the “family” aspect of the team is another way to keep things in check. He built up Dillashaw, absolutely, and he profited off of that by virtue of what Dillashaw was paying in to Team Alpha Male. He didn’t do it out of the goodness of his heart; he molded a fighter who brought value to the team. Now that fighter is finding out his value with another group saying they’ll pay him to train rather than the other way around. No matter how much Team Alpha Male wants to purport to be a “family,” Dillashaw isn’t reaping any benefits from the gym itself; he’s not a partner in the gym, he isn’t getting taken care of in that manner. It hurts Faber and TAM’s bottom line, so in that respect Faber’s frustrations make sense, but holding things against Dillashaw for making a beneficial move for himself is, I don’t think anyway, a necessary move.

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