Elite South Floridian mixed martial arts team the Blackzilians are again without a wrestling coach. This week Glenn Robinson, the team's manager, sacked coach Kenny Monday.
Yahoo! Sports' Cagewriter blog asked Monday about the firing, and the three-time Olympian, and two-time Olympic finalist in freestyle wrestling indicated that he didn't see it coming.
"It wasn't my decision, it was Glenn Robinson's decision," Monday told Cagewriter's Elias Cepeda. "I was blindsided by [the release]. I really don't know what his reason is. I don't know if they are struggling financially, or what it is. I'm not sure what's going on here. He wasn't man enough to come talk to me himself. Life goes on."
As is always the case, however, this story has two sides. Yesterday, MMAFighting caught up with Rashad Evans, one of the Blackzilian's top fighters, and asked him about the dismissal of Monday.
"It's something that has been kind of brewing with things not working out with Kenny and the management," Evans told MMAFighting. "It reached its limit. It became hard to work with him."
"I was Kenny's biggest backer. I did my best to be the mediator, but when you have strong personalities going head to head it doesn't make for a good resolution. We all consult about everything. When they came to me about it, I had no choice but to support my team about the decision that was being made."
Monday's reached his limit with management fresh on the heels of the very public withdrawal of Blackzilian fighter Eddie Alvarez from the main event of Bellator 120. Alvarez suffered a concussion in the lead up to the fight, and as he revealed on the MMA Hour, this concussion occurred during one of Monday's wrestling practices.
"It was during one of [coach] Kenny Monday's wrestling practices," Alvarez told MMA Hour host Ariel Helwani. "Me and Abel Trujillo were wrestling. I shot in, he defended like with a hip check, sort of hit me, and I just remember feeling like it was a significant blow. Well, we just kept wrestling and kept going, and there was a couple of exchanges later, I had a separate partner. I had a single-leg, and they pulled out of the single-leg and their heel hit me underneath my chin, and that was only about two or three minutes later after I shot on Abel. So, it was a series of significant hits that I took."
Alvarez then discussed the physical nature of Monday's practices, and how he immediately contacted Robinson after becoming aware of the head injury.
"Kenny Monday's wrestling practice is pretty intense. You normally feel exhausted and dizzy after regardless, so I didn't know whether just to take it that I was feeling the symptoms because I took a hard shot or I was just tired and exhausted from practice.
"So, I went home, I rested, and when I came in the next day my head was feeling pressure when I got like really light impact. And then the following day, Friday, it got even worse. So I needed to call [my manager] Glenn [Robinson] and let him know what was going on. That's sort of what happened."
Assuming everything that Evans and Alvarez said is true, we are left with this sequence of events.
1. Some sort of tension growing between Monday and Robinson.
2. Alvarez getting knocked out of the biggest fight of his career during a Monday practice.
3. Alvarez notifying Robinson about how the injury took place while wrestling.
4. Robinson firing Monday.
One has to wonder if the close proximity of Alvarez's injury during a Monday-led training session and Monday's termination was simply coincidental, or if Robinson has been unhappy with the way Monday has led practices for a while, and the Alvarez injury was the last straw.
Either way, we should hope that Monday lands somewhere on his feet, and look forward to the next big name the Blackzilians hire as a wrestling coach.