Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu superstar turned Bellator fighter Dillon Danis was one of the big names out of the Marcelo Garcia Academy in New York City. But last April, he along with fellow grappling standout Mansher Khera were “indefinitely suspended” from the academy.
Garcia did not specify his reasons for his decision other than the two aforementioned were “not being the example that he wants them to be,” but it could easily be about how Danis, in particular, has conducted himself off the mats.
In June, the 23-year-old Danis began training with the Miyao brothers at Unity BJJ, another famed academy in New York City. But during his studio appearance on the MMA Hour on Monday, he finally broke his silence about the ongoing issues with his former mentor.
“It was more of a suspension, but at this time, I don’t feel like I’m going back,” Danis told Ariel Helwani. “It wasn’t one thing, this just happened. Since I’ve been with Marcelo, we’ve had a couple of rifts. I love Marcelo to death, and I won’t say anything bad about him, I still love him, he was like my dad.”
“It’s hard to talk about for me, I had a lot of nights where I cried. That was my guy, he was my coach and everything, so it was hard for me to talk about. But we had a lot of differences because he really wants you to be like him. He wants you to be exactly like him, he wants you to always be smiling.”
“It’s understandable, but at the end of the day, if everybody acts the same, no one’s ever going to be different,” Danis continued. “And he makes the guys kind of be like that where they’re all like yes men.”
Danis revealed that had already been slapped with a six-month suspension in the past when he posted a photo of himself in social media with a middle finger raised after “something happened in his life.” According to him, his actions that led him to being branded as a “bad boy” in jiu-jitsu is just him being his authentic self.
“I’m real, I don’t hide it,” Danis said. “I’m not gonna go to someone and be like ‘oss, bro.’ It’s a fake kind of environment, and it’s very big in jiu-jitsu, very big.”
“Just because I act the way I do doesn’t mean I’m not a nice person in the gym. Ask anybody that’s ever trained with me, anybody that’s ever met me, I’m one of the nicest, most respectful in the gym and outside the gym.”
For Danis, the biggest issue was that he was being made to act like someone he is not, and he believes it should not be taken against him.
“Just because I’m this different you can’t tell me ‘you’re a rebel, you’re an asshole because you’re not smiling and bowing.’ It’s just the way I am.”
Danis’ interview begins at the 2:50:27 mark of the video.