Greg Jackson holding his "Father of the Year" trophy. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Greg Jackson and Jackson's MMA have been one of the biggest camps at the center of the teammates not fighting teammates thing. The idea that fighters are "family" or "teammates" who shouldn't fight each other has long bothered UFC president Dana White and he's taken the opportunity to try to prove what nonsense the idea that fighters are family is in the wake of the fallout between Jon Jones, Jackson's MMA and Rashad Evans.
"There is one thing that is an absolute fact, and no matter how often Greg Jackson pumps that family [expletive], Greg Jackson is a [expletive] businessman," White told Cagewriter. "The more top guys he brings in, the more money he makes. There's nothing wrong with Greg Jackson, but he's a [expletive] businessman. Some of these fighters, who ought to know better but don't listen to that [expletive] and don't take it for the crock of [expletive] that it is. These guys need to make the decision where they train based on where they think they'll get the best work and develop the best, and not on this [expletive] crazy idea that you're becoming a part of a family.
"Greg Jackson [expletive] told Rashad this wouldn't happen, that they're family and all that other [expletive], but look what is going on now. Look and see who is at Jackson's and who is not. Train where you think it's going to be best for you and if that's Jackson's, that's fine. Just don't buy into this family [expletive] because there's nothing to it. This is the fight business, not the friend business."
Rashad trained at Jackson's for most of his career, becoming one of the gym's most successful fighters. Despite being somewhat uncomfortable with Jon Jones starting to train at the gym, an arrangement was made that then "friends" Jones and Evans would never fight each other. With Evans gunning to win back his light heavyweight title, Jones made statements that if Rashad was champion, he'd be content to keep dominating without the belt.
Of course, once Evans was hurt and Jones was offered his title shot, Jones took it, won the title and made the statement that set everything into motion by claiming he'd be willing to fight Rashad if that's what the UFC asked him to do.
The subsequent fallout saw Evans leave Jackson's but Greg Jackson continued to say that he wouldn't corner against Rashad given their history. That, of course, quickly changed and led to Dana's above statement.
The idea that fighters should be creating bonds that prevent the best fights from being made is a bit crazy to me. I understand the idea of training with someone every day and becoming friends may make you wary of fighting them. But, ultimately your best career decision is to look out for yourself.
For all the flack boxing gets for "the best fights not happening," as someone who follows both sports very closely, I can name more legitimately good fights that didn't happen in MMA than boxing over the past ten years. And the biggest reason for a lot of them were "oh, those guys won't fight, they train together." Be it Jackson's, AKA or any other big camp there were a lot of appropriate fights for guys.
This is a business and no one is going to remember the fights you didn't have because some coach sold the idea that you're a "family." The sooner fighters start looking out for themselves a bit more than worrying about hurting other fighters' feelings, the better off the sport will be.