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AKA fighters respond to Dana White's criticism: 'He says stone age, I say old school'

Cain Velasquez, Daniel Cormier, Luke Rockhold and others share their thoughts on comments made by the UFC president.

UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and light-heavyweight Daniel Cormier.
UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and light-heavyweight Daniel Cormier.
Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, UFC president Dana White blasted the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), one of MMA's most renowned gyms, for their tough training regimen, mainly because of the frequent injuries of one of their main assets, UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. White suggested, that "some of the camps are still in the stone ages and need to be brought up to date". Now, Javier Mendez, AKA's head coach, as well as some of his top students  responded to White's comments.

Javier Mendez:

"I love the fact that (Dana is) bringing attention to that and it does help me look to ways to improve. I've been looking to improve the injury rate, and it does concern me. That's why I love Dana, he brought attention so we can correct ourselves. From the beginning of MMA training, we're always going to evolve. It shows he cares, but he's wrong for accusing us. I think he's primarily accusing us because we have the heavyweight champion. If you want to get rid of injuries, you'll have to get rid of the UFC."

Cain Velasquez:

"You know what, I've always considered this gym as an old school gym. He says stone age, I say old school.

"The best way to prepare for a fight is to fight. Yeah, I've had some injuries. But when we fight, nobody says we're not training right when they look at the way we fight. We're going to keep doing it. We could get injured again, but you don't come into training with those thoughts. I don't go in thinking about getting injured. We go to work, beat each other up, just like a fight. We don't go into a fight with those thoughts either."

Cain Velasquez is facing Fabricio Werdum in a heavyweight title unification fight at UFC 188 on June 13 in Mexico City, Mexico. Their fight was originally scheduled for November last year, but got scrapped due to a Velasquez knee injury.

Luke Rockhold:

"It's my camp, but I think a lot of that falls on Cain because he's the face of our gym, he's the heavyweight champion and the baddest man on the planet. Him having injuries and not fighting that much reflects on us, but at the same time, we're the best gym in the world. You want to say that we don't do things right, but we're the best gym in the world. I think we have a lot of healthy fighters who are constantly fighting."

Luke Rockhold is coming off a dominant win over Lyoto Machida at UFC on FOX 15 last Saturday and is likely going to be the next number-one contender for the UFC middleweight title.

Daniel Cormier:

"As the captain (of Team AKA), this is my thought: We've made some changes in our training. Cain and I go super hard, like really hard. For all the praise we get inside the Octagon for our ability to control fights, it all develops from inside that room. It's not like we just turn it on in the Octagon. We get it from that room. It's tough because we're both good fighters. We go hard on Monday, really hard. Tuesday we wrestle hard. Wednesday we spar differently. Cain and I spar and it's hard and it's like a fight. But with everyone else, it's not as hard. It's still good sparring, but you can control the sparing. Friday we use smaller gloves and focus on wrestling. We're only sparring hard one day a week and that's the most we're willing to do.

"Cain's had some bad luck with injures, but as bad as they are, most of them were from fights. It'll get better. That's the most we're willing to change so we can be confident going into the Octagon."

Daniel Cormier suffered his first loss in the biggest fight of his career, a light-heavyweight title bout against Jon Jones, at UFC 182 in January. He is currently preparing himself for a June 6 fight against Ryan Bader at UFC Fight Night 68 in New Orleans.

Josh Thomson:

"Maybe we do get hurt more than other camps, but you're going to find with the more stringent drug testing in this promotion that guys will have to come back to reality, and they'll have to train hard."

Josh Thomson was scheduled to fight at a UFC Fight Night card in February, but pulled out due to an undisclosed injury.

Transcription taken from

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