Back in 2013, it looked like Team Alpha Male had churned out yet another top-level bantamweight prospect. Chris Holdsworth, who earned his BJJ black belt at just 21 and won The Ultimate Fighter 18 at 26 years old, was well on his way. But even before TUF he suffered a concussion in training, and that the lingering effects from that have seen him on the sidelines for over three years now.
It has always been rumored that the injury was caused by then-teammate T.J. Dillashaw. Dillashaw’s UFC 217 opponent, current UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, has pointed the finger at Dillashaw. In an interview last week, Dillashaw, who left the camp in 2015, admitted he went full steam in training but denied that he injured Holdsworth.
Today, Holdsworth was given the opportunity to offer his side of things on The MMA Hour. And he didn’t hold back, confirming that the injury was suffered at the hands (or knees) of Dillashaw. He also went a step further, implying PED use on the part of the former champion (via MMA Fighting):
“T.J. has always been a great fighter, he’s a great athlete, but he’s always had, I don’t know, some type of competitive feud with me ever since I came to the team. I don’t know if it was because of envy or jealousy or whatever it was, but I just kinda always brushed it off as him being competitive and being, just, ultra-aggressive. I was always up for the fight, but there was multiple occasions where T.J. got a little bit too aggressive, he went overboard in training. He’s kneeing you while we’re boxing. He’s throwing elbows while we’re doing jiu-jitsu. And I remember that instance that’s out in the public — yeah, it’s definitely true.
“I shot in on T.J. and I was on all fours, he was sprawled out and he kneed me on top of the head. And that was before The Ultimate Fighter. I remember I was kinda jarred up and everyone was watching, and I took like 30 seconds off and I kept going, I kept going through the rounds and I finished practice. But after that practice, I was concussed, and that was my first concussion. And it just kinda kept happening from there.
“There was another instance leading up to the Chico (Camus) fight (in 2014), when he was getting ready for (Renan) Barao,” Holdsworth added. “And then it comes to where I hear he’s on some special supplements and stuff, and I just lost respect for the guy. There’s no hard feelings, it’s whatever it is, but he’s a cheater.”
He wouldn’t go any further than that with the accusations, other than to say “you can put two and two together”.
As for why it took three years to tell his side, it was pretty simple - he “didn’t want to be a b-itch”, in his words. But once Dillashaw publicly denied it, he felt compelled to speak:
“I heard some other interview where he was saying [my concussion problems were] from me being malnourished, and I didn’t know how to cut weight and stuff, which is false. So I’m not trying to harp and just f—king throw him under the bus, but I’m telling the truth and I have no reason to lie. You guys can take it how you want to take it, and it’s going to be a great fight Saturday night.”
Garbrandt and Dillashaw meet at UFC 217 on November 4th in New York City.