Image via Esther Lin of MMA Fighting
For UFC middleweight Brian Stann, getting injured actually turned out to be a good thing. A headlining bout on Fox against Hector Lombard is big, but the opportunity to face Michael Bisping on PPV is bigger. A win over Bisping will get him closer to a title shot than a win over Lombard. Due to a death in the family and wanting to be closer to home, Stann has been training for the bout in Atlanta. And now that he's done it for a while, he thinks that the recent trend of "super camps" might begin to fade a bit as elite fighters choose more specialized training (via UFC.com):
"Fighters, when they get to certain levels, it’s difficult to train for a big fight when you’re in a gym where there are 15 other guys training for a big fight. Sometimes you can get lost in there, and there’s not enough individual attention on what you need to accomplish technically in order to prepare for your fight.
"It’s impossible for someone to decide to train somewhere else unless there is some big drama," Stann laughs, crediting reality TV with our craving for changes to be born out of scandal, not real life circumstances. "Your life changes as you get older, you get in a different situation – some guys start building around home, some guys still travel to train. I just choose not to (travel) as I get closer to my fight, and focus more here – bring people in to here so I can be with my family more often. It has nothing to do with any drama or anything I wasn’t getting."
This actually makes a lot of sense for some fighters. Clearly coaches and sparring partners can be expensive and it makes sense for most guys to train where they have access to these guys, even if it means sharing them with a bunch of other fighters. But elite fighters make elite money, and they might be able to afford smaller, more specific camps. It's been said for a long time that guys like B.J. Penn should have worked with bigger camps instead of doing what Stann is talking about. But different things work for different guys I guess. It's certainly an interesting debate.