Last month, former Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight king Cody Garbrandt suffered his second consecutive loss to bitter rival and former teammate T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 227 in an unsuccessful attempt to recapture his bantamweight title.
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Retirement? What retirement?
When a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter officially retires from cage fighting, it often means “I need a vacation but I’ll be back when I A) run out of money or B) run out of things to do.” Former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) featherweight champion Urijah Faber, however, may be the exception to that rule.
“The California Kid” is not hard up for cash, nor does he need a hobby, thanks to his role at Team Alpha Male (TAM) in Sacramento, Calif. He just loves the thrill of competition and stays in fighting shape regardless of what’s on the horizon.
Which is why he told Submission Radio it only takes one phone call.
“I still get tested from USADA just because I’ve never taken drugs in my life so I don’t really care about that. It’s well worth it. The difference is, if there was a big opportunity and someone wanted you to fight and it sounded like a good idea, I wouldn’t want to wait four months to get cleared when I’m not doing drugs anyway. So I’ll take one for the team on a 6 a.m. wake-up call. I’ve got it down pat anyways. I pretty much sleep through the whole thing aside from when I’m giving the urine sample.”
This guy should try that.
Faber (34-10) turns 39 in May and hasn’t competed since his unanimous decision victory over Brad Pickett at UFC on FOX 22. While the bantamweight title managed to elude him, “The California Kid” is widely-considered the founding father of lighter weight classes and a big reason UFC was willing to dip below 155 pounds back in 2010.
Not sure what opportunities are out there for the aging Californian, especially with this rival already moving on to bigger and better things, but maybe Vitor Belfort was onto something when he called for a “Legends League.”
Urijah Faber says Jean-Claude Van Damme ‘really emotional’ when he kicked Cody Garbrandt in the face
In all honesty, especially considering Cody Garbrandt gets punched in the face for a living, the kick that actor Jean-Claude Van Damme landed on his teeth in a recent light sparring session didn’t look all that bad.
Garbrandt, having just lost his UFC bantamweight championship to rival T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 217, probably wasn’t in the mood to taste JCVD’s heel. Van Damme, who was there to showcase kicking positions and techniques with Team Alpha Male, really beat himself up over accidentally smacking “No Love” with his foot.
Former UFC superstar and TAM head coach Urijah Faber was there to witness the entire fiasco firsthand.
“The guy that took it the hardest was Jean-Claude,” Faber said in a recent interview with TMZ Sports (shown above). “He was pretty upset that he kicked a guy that he loved so much because he’s good buddies with Cody. Cody was just coming off of this hard loss (to T.J. Dillashaw) as well.”
These types of things happen all the time in sparring, but for some reason the aftermath of the incident was more emotional than usual, especially considering Garbrandt was visibly upset.
“(Jean-Claude) was so pissed at himself, that he dropped down and got really emotional,” Faber added. “We had to console him. Cody left the Octagon, and I was trying to tell Jean-Claude ‘Hey, it’s OK, this kind of stuff happens all the time’. And he was like ‘Oh, what have I done?’ and this and that.”
“Oh he was big-time upset,” Faber further explained. “Because he could tell that Cody was pissed, and he’s a big supporter of our team. He came out there to specifically show us some stuff.”
Despite actually landing the kick on Garbrandt’s chin, you have to admit that Van Damme’s technique, positioning, speed, and dexterity were pretty impressive for a 57-year-old Hollywood treasure. I guess that’s why they call him “The Muscles from Brussels.”
Combat fight fans were thrown for a surprising loop a few months back when UFC announced rapper Snoop Dogg would join former bantamweight superstar Urijah Faber in the booth to call “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.” Snoop Dogg had never done play-by-play before and knew little about the intricacies of mixed martial arts (MMA), so it was going to be a work in progress.
According to “The California Kid,” the weed-smoking rapper exceeded all expectations.
“Man, I thought [Snoop Dogg] did amazing,” Faber said during a recent interview with Submission Radio. “The funny thing is, you know, what you get with Snoop is just a guy that’s being extremely real and passionate. It was cool. It was just a different type of eyeball on the fights. He’s a guy that’s just saying exactly what he sees. If a guy is laying on his back, he’s not thinking, ‘oh, is he going to go for a knee bar?,’ he’s thinking, ‘why is the guy laying on his back?’”
While the prolific hip-hop artist did fairly well on the mic alongside Faber, he made alarming comments outside of the booth following UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor’s loss to undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. last month. Snoop Dogg blasted McGregor in a vulgar outburst caught on camera and provided further fuel for MMA fighters to dislike his view on the sport.
“He has a good knowledge of the sport from a spectator level, but it was fun to kind of teach him and just realize that like, this is just purely watching a fight with Snoop Dogg, not him having to be biased, not him having to do this – even I made a joke that he was gonna be banned from the first fight after the Conor McGregor fight because I think he was probably drunk and had said some stuff that pissed a bunch of people off, but, I mean, the guy’s just real, so I can appreciate that and I had a lot of fun,” Faber explained. “The way he treated me and other people was pretty great, he was a gentleman and as real as it gets.”
Even if Snoop Dogg handled himself with class inside of the booth, he may need to check himself outside of it if he desires to work with UFC again. Trashing McGregor isn’t off limits, but the fashion in which the Doggfather did it in most certainly is, especially for a guy who was hired to call fights.
Team Alpha Male founder Urijah Faber confirmed Monday on The MMA Hour that Northcutt was working with the Sacramento-based squad ahead of Northcutt’s lightweight bout against Claudio Puelles on July 29 at UFC 214.
“He’s out here learning the good stuff,” Faber said on The MMA Hour. “He and I just got done doing a little private (lesson).”
Northcutt, a 21-year-old prospect who’s racked up a 3-2 Octagon record since debuting in the UFC to heavy fanfare in Oct. 2015, recently announced that he would be putting his studies at Texas A&M University on hold in order to commit fully to his MMA career. “Super Sage” has trained with a variety of teams, including a brief stint at Montreal’s Tristar Gym, but Faber appeared confident that Northcutt’s relationship with Team Alpha Male would be on a “more permanent” basis after UFC 214.
“Right now, he works out with one of my very good buddies out of Paradigm in Texas, who I actually coached in college at UC Davis,” Faber said. “And so, this is a week out (for him) right now. He’s got a full camp, so I’m not sure how much he’s going to be out here for his camp, but it’s probably going to be a more permanent thing for him moving forward. But as of right now, he’s kind of splitting time, and man, what a fast learner and what a positive guy. He’s fun to be around.”
When asked if that meant Northcutt’s position on the team was settled moving forward, Faber responded affirmatively.
“I believe so,” Faber said. “You’d have to double check with him, but I think so.”
Faber also said he didn’t believe the Team Alpha Male coaches would be cornering Northcutt at UFC 214, but he wasn’t sure.
Either way, the addition comes at a positive time for the squad, which has long been one of MMA’s most talent rich.
The team just opened a new state-of-the-art facility in Sacramento and on Monday announced a unique sponsorship with California-based charter aviation company Mountain Lion Aviation, a sponsorship which Faber expects to open a variety of new opportunities for Team Alpha Male athletes. And while Team Alpha Male has built its reputation on being among the world’s premier homes for lighter-weight fighters — housing big names like UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt — Faber expects Northcutt to have plenty of capable training partners his size to work with.
“We have a lot of guys at the heavier weights, too,” Faber said. “Not heavier, heavier weights; we’ve got ‘85, ‘70s, ’55. We’ve got a couple guys, Josh Emmett is a 155-pounder, Damian Norris is a 155-pounder, so he’ll have some good guys to go with out here.”
Urijah Faber wasn’t amused by last night’s TUF 25 premiere, or the TUF Talk segment that followed, it appears.
In a wide-ranging Instagram post late Wednesday night, Faber took aim at former teammate T.J. Dillashaw and ex-coach Duane Ludwig, while also throwing in a thank you to Conor McGregor. Check it out below.
Sad to see my former friend @tjdillashaw lie about me on national television to save his reputation. He knows there was no ultimatum, he got lured by money And @ludwigmartialarts your welcome for employing you (when u were broke, down & out) for 1 year and 3 months – of the 14 yr existence of @teamalphamalemma, a team built with some of my closest friends, with blood, sweat, and tears. And thanks Duane for trying to warn me about TJ being sold off, once he won the belt (see the text on 3rd slide). Thank u @thenotoriousmma for seeing the future Thank u @cody_nolove for being a real champion inside and outside of the octagon Thank u to @studshowradio for the best podcast ever (kinda ) My coaching staff that is the best in the world @justinbuchholz_ @holdsworthmma @lastcall155 @dustinakbari @fabiopradobjj @masterthong916 @joey_rodriguez916 And for the word LOYALTY which is hard to find.