UFC Bantamweight Champion T.J. Dillashaw has heard plenty of comments in the past week since deciding to split with Team Alpha Male to join the new Evolution Fight Team in Colorado, but he’s firing back against one in particular.
Interim UFC Featherweight Champ Conor McGregor – who is coaching on The Ultimate Fighter opposite T.J. Dillashaw’s now former training partner Urijah Faber – called Dillashaw out as a “snake in the grass,” and Dillashaw thinks that’s a ridiculous stance to take regarding what he feels was a necessary business decision.
“It was just timing…timing’s everything I guess on that, and it all happened at the time when Conor called us out. It’s actually kind of ridiculous for him to call me a ‘snake’ or a ‘traitor,’ when the fact is I made a business decision,” Dillashaw argued on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. “I feel like that’s…that’s like Conor saying it’s making business decisions, it’s all about business, it’s the fight business. I’m getting told I’m a snake because I make a business decision for my career. That’s just pretty hypocritical, it’s very hypocritical to me when other people believe what he says.
“If I’m a traitor, I feel like [McGregor]’s an even bigger traitor to his country,” he said. “He went to Ireland, and he’s a big country man, and then he lives in the United States now. He moved to Las Vegas. Why? It’s better for his career. It’s business. And so, I put it so everyone understands, I’m just trying to stay on top and I want to become the best MMA fighter possible and I need coaches to do so. Right now in Sacramento, I’m teaching kickboxing classes, Martin Kampmann’s moving home. He was a great mitt-man and a boxing coach, but he’s a boxing coach. We have to coach each other at Team Alpha Male right now, and that’s a big problem for me… Ultimately, it was a business decision. I’m going to have these haters out there, but haters are gonna hate.”
Penick’s Analysis: McGregor’s argument back to Dillashaw would be that he brought his team of trainers and training partners to Las Vegas with him from Ireland, and didn’t change up his team much, if at all. Now, that doesn’t invalidate Dillashaw’s feeling about the move, and for him he’s making the right decision for himself both financially and as far as his preparations are concerned. He’s going to have a camp geared towards him, rather than being one of the cogs in the Team Alpha Male machine, and that’s important for his continued development. He still hasn’t really done anything wrong despite the pushback against him, and he’s got plenty of right to call McGregor out for his own comments here.