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Israel Adesanya’s head coach brought ‘legit knives’, ‘a machete’ to combat complacency in the gym

Eugene Bareman is a wild man.

UFC 277: Pena v Nunes 2
Eugene Bareman is the head coach of reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Israel Adesanya and Dan Hooker revealed City Kickboxing head coach Eugene Bareman brought knives and a machete to the gym to combat complacency among senior gym members.

Hooker, who trains under Bareman in New Zealand, revealed ‘legit knives’ were pulled in the gym after Bareman told Ariel Helwani that some of the top fighters on the team needed a wake-up call.

“Knives were pulled, legit knives,” Hooker, who is teammates with Adesanya at City Kickboxing, told Helwani (h/t Low Kick MMA). “He would have had them on this chair, there were a number of moments. He’s always packing. We got a few big telling offs, he kicked the hornets nest a few times. It had to happen to wake everyone up, maybe we were being complacent. After that, we definitely reached a new level. He demanded more out of us.“

Adesanya then confirmed that during a two to three-week training period, wild man Bareman brought several knives to the gym, including a machete. However, they were more for display and bragging rights than anything else.

“There was a period of two to three weeks, it’s like show and tell. He’d bring a new knife to the gym, not to intimidate, he’s just a f*cking weirdo,” Adesanya said. He’s one of those guys that goes to the bushes, hunting deer. He even brought a machete to the gym one day, a cool machete. It’s like a kid with a new toy, he makes jokes about it.”

Adesanya and Hooker will compete on tomorrow night’s highly-anticipated UFC 281 PPV in New York, with ‘The Last Stylebender’ defending his middleweight title against Alex Pereira in the main event and ‘The Hangman’ kicking off the main card against streaking lightweight Claudio Puelles. The main card starts at 10 p.m. ET.