Former Ultimate Fighter assistant coach Leister Bowling has pulled together a group of Colorado-based fighters to form Elevated Fight Team. As of now, 'Elevated' seems to be comprised of mostly former Grudge Training Center alums Nate Marquardt and Brendan Schaub, as well as future TUF coach, Cat Zingano.
Bowling seems to want to get away from what's become the norm in MMA. While many camps have become all-inclusive facilities often tied into representation and branding, Bowling believes more emphasis should be placed on the individual athlete.
"The difference is it's not a gym, it's a team," Bowling told Bleacher Report on Thursday. "It's going to be open to everybody from every gym and in Denver there happens to be a lot of good gyms. I think a lot of fighters get pulled in a lot of different directions. Maybe they want to train with me for wrestling, and somewhere else for boxing and somewhere else for jiu-jitsu and maybe all of those coaches don't get along. That just hurts the fighter. Because they're not getting to train with the best training partners.
"So the concept of this is I run my practices out of the MusclePharm training center, they've kind of named me their in house MMA coach, and it came about because some people were kind of unhappy where they were and wanted to start their own team and asked me to be a part of it and asked me to run it as head coach."
The recent retirement announcement of former interim UFC heavyweight champion Shane Carwin may have something to do with the recent shift at Grudge. With their longtime leader looking to take a step back, it makes sense that Marquardt and Schaub would be looking for something new. Longtime clients of Alchemist MMA, this may be a better arrangement for them as opposed to places like American Kickboxing Academy (DeWayne Zinkin of Zinkin Entertainment & Sports Management) or the Blackzillions (Glenn Robinson, CEO of Authentic Sports Management), both of which have heavy-handed managerial tie-ins.
One curious wrinkle in this news is the odd timing it coincides with the announcement that Zingano has also joined Black House, the home of UFC royalty Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida and the Nogueira brothers. While Zingano Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will reportedly remain her home base, it should be interesting to see how she splits her time between Elevated and Black House.
Mauricio Zingano, husband and training partner of Cat, spoke with Bloody Elbow Thursday to shed some light on the new arrangements:
"Well, my gym, Team Zingano/Black House has been a black house gym for years, she recently singed with the managing side of it, so Ed and her current manager Ricky have join up on this venture.
She will still be doing her training camps here in Colorado at our gym but may occasionally travel to train for a few days at the time.
We are in LA often so most likely it would be during our trips there, and we have hosted other Black House fighters at our Denver gym in the past, Jose Aldo, Minotauro, Diego Nunez etc..."
We'll have to wait and see how this affects her roster of coaches slated to help her defeat 'Team Rousey' on the upcoming season of 'The Ultimate Fighter.'
According to Bowling, the MusclePharm facility will host the majority of the team's practices, while additionally spending time at places like Amal Easton's Easton BJJ. So, can this sort of experiment last? Or will Bowling's vision be short-lived?