We've witnessed, in the past 24 hours, one of the most controversial back and forths in the sport of MMA. There aren't a lot of situations where a trainer and a fighter or gym manager have gone to the public with information challenging the character of the other person. A lot of accusations have been thrown on both sides, so I wanted to do a quick recap separating the facts from the rumors, as well analyze a bit of what both Urijah Faber and Duane Ludwig have said.
Let's start off with the facts. It's a fact that Duane Ludwig began as coach on Team Alpha Male around the beginning of 2013 and revealed that he was leaving the team in 2014.
It is also a fact that no contract was signed between Faber and Ludwig upon his hiring as the main striking coach at the gym. The exact details of the contract negotiation have been the main dispute of the two, and has been confirmed by both Faber and Ludwig, with each giving different details on how the negotiations went down. It is a fact though that negotiations did happen, no contracts were signed and both feel that the other did not hold their end of the deal.
It is a fact that at UFC on Fuel TV 7 that Ludwig wore a Tom Watson shirt when cornering Danny Castillo for his fight against Paul Sass (picture shown in the video). Urijah accused Ludwig of going to Watson's sponser 30 minutes before the fight and bargaining a $250 deal that would see him wear the shirt. We do not know if those claims are true, but we do know that Ludwig did wear the shirt to corner Castillo.
We know for a fact that Ludwig does not like to train women fighters. Faber made comments on the MMA Hour detailing Ludwig's refusal to train women's fighters at the gym. Ludwig told MMAFighting.com the next day that, "I do feel uneasy seeing a woman get punched in the face. There's awesome women's fights, but it still makes me feel a bit weird. But yeah, I don't like to train women."
We know for a fact that Ludwig had a confrontation with former WEC head Reed Harris. Faber said that Ludwig tried to intimidate the now UFC executive after not getting tickets to an event. Ludwig admitted that the confrontation did happen, but that Faber blew the details out of proportion and that Reed Harris and him have squashed any hard feelings.
It is also a fact that both have showed a willingness to put everything in the past for the sake of the fighters on the team, and for UFC Bantamweight Champion TJ Dillashaw.
These are all of the facts of the situation. To make decision on who is right or wrong based on these facts is a little difficult, and most of the public opinion has come from rumors from both sides attacking the character of the other. Faber's comments on Ludwig making racial jokes in the gym hasn't been confirmed, and no one from Team Alpha Male has come out to support any of the claims made by Faber. That doesn't mean they aren't true, it's just that they aren't a fact as of now.
We have seen proof on the Joe Rogan Experience that Ludwig is quick to be confrontational when being cut off in a conversation. It is a piece of evidence that points towards some truth in Faber's character analysis of Duane, but it's not proof of anything. People have bad days, maybe he's nervous in a public situation and maybe he is a confrontational loose cannon. We don't know.
So in the end what are we left with? We know that Ludwig will no longer train fighters at Team Alpha Male, but that fighters are free to go to Bang's gym in Colorado. We know that Faber nor Ludwig signed a contract, which was a bad business decision from both sides. We know that Ludwig didn't notify Faber ahead of time that he would be leaving the gym to start his own. We know that Ludwig has a problem with coaching women's fighters. We know that Ludwig wore a Tom Watson shirt while cornering Danny Castillo. We know that Ludwig had a confrontation with a UFC executive. We know that both sides have said that they want the best for the fighters of Team Alpha Male.
Those are the facts, and I'm sure that in the next couple of days more claims made by either side will be confirmed or proven as false. I wouldn't pick a side if you're one to pick sides, until we hear from more people and get more facts on the situation. That's my side of it.