After Hector Lombard was defeated by Tim Boetsch at UFC 149, I spoke with Dr. Rhadi Ferguson, a man who Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal called a “combat genius,” to get his assessment of the match.
When the feature—in which Dr. Ferguson criticized Lombard’s corner and suggested that the sport may have passed American Top Team co-founder and trainer Conan Silveira by—was published, it garnered a fair bit of controversy, namely from the Underground Forum.
Within a day or two of the feature grabbing the attention of elements of the MMA community, an official response was issued by a representative of American Top Team, the team Dr. Ferguson trained with a few years ago.
The following is a complete transcript of an interview that I conducted with Dr. Ferguson last week, where the sought-after instructor responds to American Top Team’s response.
Nearly 20,000 hits on the UG, 5,000 hits on Bleacher Report and an official response from ATT—did you think that the article would elicit this type of reaction?
To be completely honest, not at all. Of course, I’m happy that it did. I certainly appreciate the fact that many people have taken an interest in what I have to say and my professional assessment concerning mixed martial arts and coaching athletes.
Were you hoping for this type of reaction?
To be honest with you, when I do interviews, I don’t do interviews for the purpose of eliciting a reaction; I do interviews in order to facilitate the need of the interviewer or writer.
Normally, they come to me looking for a professional opinion based upon my background and what it is I provide for the sport for the article in which they are writing. I just provide my professional opinion—I don’t say things for shock value. That’s not my style.
Do you think that’s what people thought you were trying to do—shock people with what you were saying?
I don’t know what people thought I was doing. I just provide an assessment of the sport and the coaches. I’m no different than Skip Bayless on ESPN—you’re not going to agree with my opinion all the time, but it’s my professional opinion.
Before we get into the specifics of ATT’s response, what is your response to ATT’s response?
I 100 percent respect their opinion. Everyone sees the situation differently—I saw it different than how they saw it. However, it wasn’t my intent when I did the interview to take a personal attack against American Top Team, nor is that my position now.
When you look at the interview, I don’t say anything about American Top Team, nor did I make any disparaging comments against Hector. I respect their assessment on my departure and how they saw it, also. I don’t have anything negative to say about American Top Team. Once again, that’s not my style.
It seems that some readers were, maybe not offended, but taken back by what you had to say. Are you surprised by that?
No. I think any time you speak on an issue it's inherently going to be controversial—we’re talking about peoples’ favourite fighters, favourite team.
It’s like you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan and somebody’s talking about the Philadelphia Eagles; the person that makes the comments or makes the assessment is going to be a very polarizing individual, meaning some people are going to agree with what I say and some people are going to disagree with what I say.
As human beings, the first thing that we’re going to do is tie the words to the person, meaning they take my assessment or my particular view of the situation and begin to attack me as a person. That’s just what people do. Bro, it doesn’t bother me at all.
Not at all?
Not at all. Let me tell you something about being in business—something that I really learned from Lloyd Irvin—is that if you want to become super-successful in business, you’re going to have to get to the point where you’re immune to criticism.
I can’t sit around and allow some person—a person who I don’t know and who doesn’t know me—to make an assessment of me and then run with it, disparage me and then get caught up in that banter and bickering.
I have no time. I have no time for those things. It doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t stay up at night reading the forums, reading what other people have to say. I just don’t.
Were you surprised that you got an official response from ATT?
You know what? I don’t think I was really surprised that I got an official response from ATT. I think that their position was to protect their coach; I think that they wanted to maybe disparage me in some particular way and or to make my comments less valid by making a personal attack.
I’m not sure exactly what the purpose was, because it didn’t have anything to do with my assessment, to be honest with you.
Why do you think that was the case? Why don’t you think they responded to your criticism?
I couldn’t tell you why, but maybe because it’s difficult to argue with the facts (laughs). And here are the facts: I don’t have anything personal against Conan—no matter what he has or hasn’t said about me in the past, I don’t know the guy, I just don’t.
When I arrived at American Top Team, he wasn’t there. And as far as me wanting to attack him personally, you could just tell from the tone of this particular interview that that isn’t what I wanted to do. If I was interested in attacking him personally, there are numerous things that I could say about him. I’m sure you and the rest of the people reading this know exactly what I’m saying.
The conspiracy theory that is being sold by the person from ATT—I don’t want you to miss this—is that I was sitting at home, waiting for Hector Lombard to lose so that I can attack Conan Silveira. That’s actually asinine.
I’m glad they think of Conan so highly and I’m kind of upset that they think of me so lowly, to be honest with you (laughs). But really, I’ve got a lot better things to do with my time.
The fact of the matter is this: Hector Lombard is a former Bellator 185-pound champ, okay? There was a great deal of hype surrounding his arrival to the UFC.
Any time there is a judo player fighting—I don’t care if it was Karo Parisian, Rhonda Rousey or Hector Lombard—any time a judo player fights in the UFC, especially someone who has gone to the Olympics, I’m usually going to get some hits to my inbox or my phone or my Facebook page about doing an interview or getting my professional opinion on the fight.
I also write—I write for a major blog—and I watch fights critically, so that I’m very well-informed about that which I speak. With that being said, I took a look at this match-up beforehand, during and after—just like how I look at the rest of the fights—I do the preliminary analysis before the fight ...
You can take this and apply it to your MMA career, if you'd like: I use Sun Tzu’s The Art of War—the first chapter—when it comes to the Laying Of Plans. Sun Tzu talks about a certain amount of criteria for knowing who’s going to win or lose: heaven, earth, moral law, the commander, and the method and discipline. There are some constants when it comes to fighting, okay?
But the two areas that really had to be looked at in terms of Hector’s fight were those of commander and method and discipline. For most of Hector’s fights, Hector’s talent was so far in advance of his competitors, that you didn’t have to make any of these deliberations.
But as the gap closes in terms of the talent disparity, Hector and his athleticism will become less of a factor and the elements of, what Sun Tzu would call the commander and the method and the discipline become more of a factor.
Looking at Hector’s fight, before the fight, during the fight and even after the fight, my job was to look at the difference-making factor in that fight or the factors, and that was the commander, method and discipline. Mathematically speaking, if you want to get technical, it’s as if the talent advantage that he had was negligible.
If he fights somebody like (Michael) Bisping or if he fights somebody like (Chael) Sonnen, his talent becomes negligible. He’s shorter, he’s explosive; they have a little more height, they have reach, they're active. Everybody has their thing that they come to the cage with, but that becomes negligible.
Your talent becomes negligible in that pool, like in the Olympics. Being in the Olympics and advancing to the finals, the matches look boring to the untrained eye, because they’re looking to be entertained.
I’m not looking to be entertained when I watch the UFC; I’m looking for implementation of tactics and strategy for the positive outcome for said fighter or said corner—that’s what I’m looking for. I’m not looking to be entertained. I don’t watch with the same eye as the spectator views the fight with. My job is to watch the fight.
I was looking at the fight, I was looking at exactly what was going on in the corners, I was looking at the fighters, their actions, their movements, their patterns, their iterations, how they were programmed, and if they were operating on autopilot.
When I’m watching the fight, I should be able to look at both of them and reverse engineer, based upon what I see, what each has been told and taught.
I should be able to see the source-code, if you will. If I can’t understand the source-code, I should be able to glean what the source-code is immediately by hearing what is being said in the corner. I don’t need to be in the corner for 60 seconds.
I’m a professional and seasoned enough that I can catch about 10, 15 seconds of what’s going on, look at the body language, the behaviour, and I can see exactly what’s going on. I could clearly see—I could clearly see—that Hector didn’t really have much of a fight plan.
The executable file of Hector Lombard was very limited, to the point where I couldn’t reverse engineer it and find out what the code was that he had been given. I was glad when Hector walked into the corner, so I could listen to what was going on in the corner.
I, like a lot of people, was confused when the instructions were not given for Hector to fix the current state of affairs of the fight.
I was confused.
Either one of two things was happening, okay? Either what occurred in the first round was the plan or what occurred in the first round was not the plan. I’ll say it again: either what occurred was the plan, or what occurred was not the plan and it just wasn’t fixed.
If what occurred in the first round was the plan, then that means Conan thought such a plan was correct and their fighter was winning, and in my opinion, that is the term delusional. No matter who was coaching in the corner. Professionals, who sometimes get it wrong, saw it the same way I saw it.
They saw it for Tim in Round 1—so did everybody else that was calling and texting me that evening. When I was watching Round 2, I saw Hector self-correct himself, I watched him show some urgency.
I thought that he was aware that there was a problem, that the fight was too close. Here’s where the problem lies: after Round 1 and Round 2, it was no longer a fight anymore.
What do you mean by that?
After Round 1 and Round 2, it was no longer a fight anymore. If the fighters are even at that time—and they are even, because Hector won a round and Tim won a round—it cancels each other out and they become negligible in the equation for winning.
Then we move from the fighters and we look at what? At the corner—we look at the commander, we look at the method and the discipline. It’s no longer a fight; it is now a chess match. It is no longer a fight; it is now a chess match ... Sometimes when you get my assessment, you don’t get everything that I’m thinking, okay?
After rounds one and two, it was a chess match between Conan Silveira and Matt Hume, or, if you like, Corner 1 and Corner 2. From one corner, I heard a very distinct and clear plan of action—that was from Tim’s corner—I didn’t hear that from Hector’s corner, nor was I hearing any quality instruction.
With my professionally trained eye, I didn’t see anything that would allow me to gather that Hector realized that there was a problem. That may have been due to the fact that his corner was telling him that he was doing fine and that he looked just beautiful.
C’mon, bro. Conan was telling him he was doing just fine, he was looking great. Somebody should’ve told Hector, “Listen, bro, the UFC middleweight championship is on the line here tonight in this fight,”—because it was.
Somebody should’ve told him that if he won the last round, he would’ve gotten Anderson Silva. Because that’s what was on the plate. I heard none of that. (The other day) I was watching the Olympics and I had the opportunity to watch one of my teammates, a colleague who is the head coach for the Olympics in judo, Jimmy Pedro.
I had the opportunity to watch him and he was mic’d up during the competition. I was listening to him coaching and watching him. As a matter of fact, one of my clients who is a good friend of mine, Taraje Williams-Murray, we talked after the fight that Jimmy coached and we were talking about Jimmy’s coaching; we weren’t talking about the fight.
His coaching was brilliant, beyond marvelous. The fighter ended up losing in overtime by referee’s decision, okay? But I’m telling you, the advice, the motivation was absolutely marvelous. The guy who was fighting was fighting the Olympic champ and the Olympic champ had a couple more tools in his toolbox and was very savvy. It was one of those fights where it could’ve gone either way, but it didn’t go his way.
But the advice, oh my gosh, the advice was fantastic. What you’re looking for is a masterful mixture of direction and motivation with a hint of conjecture. Sometimes you don’t know what’s going to occur and you need to hypothesize, too, as a coach. That is what I saw and heard from Matt Hume in the fight.
In terms of the comments on the forums, I didn’t read the comments of what the people from American Top Team made on the site—some of the people made some comments on the site—but I didn’t read them.
Somebody told me that a guy by the name of Carmelo Marrero said that my jiu-jitsu was horrible and I’m no good and all that stuff, but I’m cool with that. I’m okay. I didn’t make any disparaging comments to anyone from ATT; I didn’t make any disparaging comments about American Top Team.
Listen, I enjoy the people at American Top Team—there are some fantastic individuals at ATT—I love Ricardo Liborio and that’s about all I have on that particular question. I didn’t see or hear anything from Hector’s corner.
In my pre-fight assessment, I had Hector losing that fight—not because I like him or dislike him, that played no role in my assessment. I simply looked at the givens, the knowns—I looked at the talent as being negligible. The talent, at that point, becomes negligible.
Anybody can get knocked out in an MMA fight, so I can’t just look at it and say, “Oh, he’s going to get knocked out.” I made my pre-fight assessment based on Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, I looked at the two coaches involved, the method and discipline, there are certain things that were given and certain things that I had to guess about.
I made a calculated guess and my guess was that Hector was going to lose, based on the criteria set for winning and defeat in Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. That was my assessment. I think Conan is a good coach. Let me rephrase that: I know Conan is a good coach and he’s a pioneer in the sport.
My assessment was not on Conan’s body of work in MMA—I know who Conan is and I know what he’s done for MMA—my assessment for the interview was based upon Conan’s 60 seconds between Rounds 1 and 2 and Conan’s 60 seconds between Rounds 2 and 3.
That is a very thin slice of time and some would consider it to be unfair to judge him on that criteria, but that’s what the article was about. That’s what I do. That was a portion of the conversation when we did the interview and that’s just what it is.
I don’t like blaming a loss in football on the kicker who missed a last-minute field goal, but that’s how it goes sometimes. He could make 150 game-winners and miss one kick at the end of the game and the people on television, in bars they overflow with, you know, vitriol about how the kicker sucks. That’s how it goes.
Compartmentally, Conan’s coaching during the 120 seconds—between Rounds 1 and 2 and Rounds 2 and 3—sucked. And I think he’s a wonderful person and a great coach.
One criticism that was leveled against you in the response was that perhaps you didn’t understand the context of what they were hoping to accomplish with their game plan, their coaching. You don’t buy that?
No, I buy it, I buy it. That’s a 100 percent fair assessment. That’s a fair assessment to make, that’s a fair criticism to have, too. However, that’s a given unless you’re right there by the cage—and you’re not going to be right there unless you’re one of the coaches.
But one thing that I do know, okay, as Kahlil Gibran said in his book, The Prophet, "the mountain, to the climber, is clearer from the plane." Meaning, although I was somewhat further away, I was able to see it clearer due to my vantage point. If not clearer, I was able to see it differently than they saw it.
That doesn’t make my vantage point any less valid than their vantage point; it makes it different from their vantage point. What they have chosen to do is discredit my opinion due to my vantage point. What they don’t understand, is that my vantage point, in some respects, provides me with an advantage.
This is why some people use the phrase, ‘You can’t see the forest for the trees.’ In research, we call this inter-observer reliability; you need someone to assess what you’re doing from the outside so you can see what it looks like from the outside. That doesn’t make my opinion right; it just makes my opinion my opinion.
My opinion is perceived to be valid and is sought out because of my credentials and the work that I’ve done in sport—not only MMA. That’s all I have. You can’t discredit someone because they have a different vantage point. It’s so stupid and silly when people say, ‘Oh, man, it’s easy to be a Monday-morning quarterback.’
Listen, that’s like you disagreeing with the people who are getting their MBA are reviewing and assessing case studies on businesses that have gone bad and telling you why the business went bad. That’s like you getting in front of the class and saying, “Yeah, well, it’s easy for you to say why the business went bad when you’re a Monday-morning quarterback.”
No. The key is not for us to argue what Dr. Ferguson said or didn’t say; the key should be what we can glean from this particular opinion and how can we apply it personally and professionally in sport or in business to improve.
Instead of taking it as a personal attack, you have to sit down and say, “What could have been done differently?” I remember when I was coaching a client at the national championships. I was walking away from the mat after he made a mistake on the mat and I ran into two-time Olympic bronze medalist Israel Hernandez and he walked up to me and he pointed his finger, and he said, “That’s your fault.” I said, “What?” He said, “That loss—that’s your fault.”
He was going down to the ground and because we were working on so much Brazilian jiu-jitsu, that when he was going down to the ground, before he stabilized the throw—as he should in judo—he immediately turned to his back to begin his groundwork sequences.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is different than judo, but I had trained him to attack so much when he was on the ground that he flipped around to begin the groundwork sequence. When he did that, the referee thought he hit his back in a continuing motion and he lost the match.
Israel ran up to me and told me that that was my fault, because when I was training him how to be good on the mat, I trained that response. I was pissed. I was pissed. But instead of fighting him, I sat there and listened to what he said. You’ve got to listen to what other people have to say.
In the response, it was written that, Conan asked you to stay away from the ATT gym over a year ago because some of the fighters and coaches didn’t like the way you handled yourself and marketed yourself. Would you please tell me what you think he’s trying to get at?
I know exactly who was responsible for the response and that’s 100 percent incorrect. That’s not true. When I began training at American Top Team, I was coaching as I am now—I travel, I train, I went to other gyms, etc. My business requires that I travel, my business requires that I train other people and train with other people.
As I said before, when I arrived at American Top Team, Conan wasn’t there—that’s where I’ll leave it—and the vibe was different than it is now. In 2008, we moved from Boca Raton, Fla., to Titusville, Fla., so I was no longer a regular at American Top Team. That’s just how it was.
I only trained there from time to time when I would go down to Boca and check on the house and hang with my wife. In 2010, I decided to try my hand at MMA ...
I put my people together and, what I noticed was that every time I set up an appointment at ATT— when I went down there to set up an appointment for pad-work or a private, or whatever—I would get bumped or somebody would be late. My work schedule doesn’t work like that.
I was probably the only professional in the gym. My academic credentials, my background, my work experience is very different from most fighters that are currently fighting. That’s not a knock on them, but I went to college, I played football, I wrestled, I ran track, I went back and got my masters, went to the Olympics, pursued my PhD while I was training for the Olympics. My life is a little bit different.
So when I started doing MMA, I dare say that my time was more valuable than their time, okay? But their time was more valuable to the gym than my time, meaning a percentage of their winnings goes to the gym. It’s just not value-added for their time. And I knew that.
I was a nobody in that gym. You’ve got Thiago Alves, Thiago Silva at the time. You had some people in there who were making some money, okay? For them to spend time on me wasn’t good business sense.
So I had to create my own team, I had to put my team together like when I was training for judo. I needed to find out exactly if I belonged in this sport and where I belonged. I needed to go so I could get some attention, so I could make a proper assessment of where I belong, in terms of if I belong in the UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator.
I went to spar with the best in the business at the time, and that was Rashad Evans. I hopped on a plane, I went down to Colorado and I went to train with Rashad. After the ass-whuppin’ that I received from Rashad [laughs], I crossed the UFC off the list. I could see everything that was happening; I just couldn’t do anything about it [laughs].
My focus immediately became Bellator or Strikeforce. One of the keys to being a successful person is understanding where you are. It’s not about running around saying that I’m a UFC veteran; if I didn’t have an opportunity to win a championship in the UFC, why start?
I was so far behind the learning-curve when it came to working out with Rashad Evans, that it was embarrassing. It was embarrassing. When I first started, I thought that I could win the Strikeforce light-heavyweight championship, but I ended up being injured—but that’s another story.
I focused on Bellator and Strikeforce at the time and I trained where I could get some attention during that time. I dipped in and out of American Top Team when I could, but my wife got a job in Tampa, so we moved to Tampa. I wasn’t with ATT. I trained at ATT maybe six times throughout the year.
I won my first fight, I won my second fight and I got the contract from Bellator, I got the contract from Strikeforce, but I didn’t have anybody to focus on me so I could train except for Howard Davis.
Davis really took me under his wing and taught me how to prepare for a fight when I wasn't necessarily ready to spar. But I was having a rough time. One of the problems was that my name-recognition at the time superseded my skill-set.
I had to find a way to accelerate my learning curve, so I trained at Nashville, I trained in Florida, I trained in Maryland, I trained in Colorado, I trained in several other places. I trained where I could get the attention that I needed and I was still working, taking care of clients,
I was the head coach with judo in the Bahamas, so I was traveling internationally—I coached at the world championships, the junior-worlds, the cadet-world championships. I was juggling the responsibilities of a newborn in the home—my daughter was born in 2010—and I would come down to Boca, when I came down to Boca, I would come down to train at American Top Team.
I trained with Rashad, because Rashad moved to Boca when [Mike] VanArsdale became the coach for the Blackzillians—I’ve known VanArsdale for years from the Olympic Training Centre and I’ve known Rashad. So, I would come down to my house in Boca and I would lift weights at the gym and I’d train.
One time when I came down to the gym, there was a meeting. The meeting caught me by surprise, because I’m not there; I’m in and out, in and out, in and out. At that meeting, there was a mandate given about not being able to train at other places and if you were “caught” training at these other places, you’d be off the team.
At that point, I had reasoned that I would be off the team sooner or later, because my job requires me to train at other places. I work at other gyms sometimes, I’m at other places—I work with other people. And, of course, I’m a marketer and I have to market myself and whatever it is I’m doing so that I can eat, because I enjoy eating and driving a car with gas in it and things of that particular nature.
I’m an adult, so I don’t go around tip-toeing where I am or sneaking around. If I’m somewhere and I’m shooting video and taking pictures with the fellas I’m training with, that’s what I’m doing. I’m a judo-player at heart; I train with whoever. I train with guys from different countries that I’ve fought ... And I thought it was an asinine policy to have, but it’s not my place—I don’t own that place.
I was hoping that my job—the coaching and training that I do for a living—would make me exempt from the rules. But I came to the gym about two months later after that meeting and Hector Lombard came up to me and said, “What are you doing over there training with those guys?” I said, “What guys?” “You know, those other guys—we don’t like that.”
I remember clearly at the time that I trained wherever I wanted to and I was fine with everybody. I was lifting weights and Conan said, “Hey, man, I want to talk to you when you finish.” I said, “Okay.” I took my shoes off and walked on the mat. He turned around and he even had the whistle in his hand and the stopwatch—he was in the middle of coaching—and he said, “Hey, you’re over here or you’re over there.”
I tried to explain to him that my job was training people, but before I get two words out, Conan said, “I don’t give a f***. I don’t need you here. Get the f*** out.” [Laughs] I replied, “Thanks so much for the opportunity,” I put my hand down, I shook his hand, I put my shoes on, I walked to the manager’s office to thank them. I said, “Hey, man, [Ritchie Guerrero], I appreciate you, man. It’s been real.”
We shook hands and I walked out the door. I still don’t have any ill-will towards Dan Lambert, Liborio, Conan, or anyone else. That’s not my place; that’s their place. They make the rules and if people don’t want to be there, they fly and that’s that. They produce some great athletes, some great competitors and I don’t have anything negative to say about them or the athletes there. Like I said, it’s just not my style.
As far as problems that I’ve had or they’ve had with me, this is what I know: I left that place with handshakes and hugs. I never had anybody walk up to me and say, you know, “I’ve got a problem with you.”
If there was behaviour that had to be modified on my end, in order to take care of the needs of the environment of the team—I could have made those changes—but I was unaware of any. Que sera, sera, brother.
So, your history with the American Top Team had no influence on the assessment that you made in our previous interview?
I’m a scientific guy, but I’m sure there was a bias, no matter how hard I tried to remove it. The hard part about doing the assessment on the method and discipline side, because in my mind, when I did the assessment, I had to remove out of my mind what I thought about Hector and his training practices and go by the work that I’ve seen Conan do, in terms of strategic development and tactics or the work that I’ve seen illustrated by the work that he’s done by people who have fought.
That was difficult to do, because I generally remove those biases and I make my assessment. Sometimes it’s hard to do and sometimes I can’t. When I can’t, I just don’t give my pre-fight analysis—I just don’t do it. Or I’ll say it in advance.
When I do my assessment of Ronda Rousey versus Sarah Kaufman I'll do the same thing that I did when she fought Miesha Tate, I said from the beginning, “My opinion is very biased,” and I said, “In my opinion, Ronda Rousey is going to steamroll Miesha Tate, and if I’m incorrect, I will eat my words. I will happily eat my words, but that’s my assessment.”
People jumped all over me, but as fate would have it, Ronda Rousey went right in there and steamrolled over Miesha Tate—that’s just how it happened. We all come to the table with some bias. If you’re a jiu-jitsu guy, you’ve got a bias; if you’re a wrestler, you have a bias and if you’re a striker, you have a bias.
If you know a fighter personally, you have a bias. We all come to the table with a bias. But do I believe my history with the gym had some influence on my assessment? It may have. It may have. To the degree that some have said? I don’t know what was said by other people, but not to the degree where a personal attack was necessary.
I didn’t make a personal attack against Conan. Listen, the response by ATT was a really, really good PR move. It was good, because it created a psychological movement with the readers on the forum as if I was trying to attack ATT.
You can see how the writing was positioned as if I was trying to attack Conan and Liborio. I don’t have any problems with Conan and I love Liborio to death, okay? Some people think that I’ve been sitting down for 12 to 14 months with Conan Silveira on my mind, bro. C’mon, c’mon, c’mon. Let’s be serious.
In the past 12 to 14 months—just for the people who don’t know what I do—I’ve been on a speaking tour with the U.S. Navy SEALs and with all schools in the CIAA, I started writing a book that is in its final editing-stages, I became the associate editor of the Journal of Asian Martial Arts, I have two academic articles that are published on MMA, I’ve created an online educational program with my business partner Jimmy Pedro, I’ve been travelling extensively and training BJJ fighters and mixed martial arts competitors like Brian Rogers, JT Torres—who is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu medalist—Mike Easton, DJ Jackson—who is a world-champion in jiu-jitsu, I’ve been working with Mo Lawal, and just being Rashad’s friend is good enough, because I’m not trying to get at him or take any of his money or anything like that.
I rap with [Rashad] when he’s getting ready for fights. I really don’t have the time [laughs]. I’ve taken up too much time already on this situation. This situation was not about Conan; it was about assessing what happened at UFC 149 with one of the most dynamic and exciting fighters in the world today.
Was there anything else you wanted to say while you have the opportunity?
Man, let me tell you something. I really don’t mind people talking about me; it comes with the territory. I love helping people, I love coaching, I really love consulting. It gives me great pleasure to live the life of my dreams—I live a good life, bro. I’ve got an opportunity to do what I love and I love what I do.
I have two wonderful children—outstanding children—I’ve got a beautiful wife, who my friends call “the real doctor,” because she’s an MD. When we walk into a room, they do say “Drs. Ferguson” [Laughs] I don’t dislike anybody; you’ll never hear me say the word “hate.” I might use the word “hatin’,” but you’ll never hear me say that I hate somebody or hate someone, I don’t want my kids saying that. I don’t even say I dislike someone.
I might dislike what someone does, but I don’t even say I dislike someone—it’s not my style. I enjoy laughing, hanging out, working out and reading, learning new things—that’s what I enjoy. People like Carmelo Marrero—God bless him—who I was working out with at the time, I heard about what he said about on the forum, how my jiu-jitsu was horrible, he beat me.
I would like to tell everybody that’s reading this that that is 100 percent fact. Carmelo Marrero beat the dog piss out of me when we were training. That is a fact. Carmelo Marrero has better jiu-jitsu than me—I will admit that. I hope Carmelo Marrero feels happy about himself that he has that, that he can take that particular sound bite and run with it. You are right, sir—you’re the best.
However, the certificates, belts, watches, rings, medals, plaques and pins that I own, they’re not going anywhere. Once you win them, they let you keep those, buddy. The BJJ medals, the Olympic rings, the Olympic pin, the Olympic jacket, the Pan Am medals in judo, the Pan Am medals in jiu-jitsu, World medal in BJJ, the European medals from judo, the credentials from coaching at the world-championships in grappling and judo, the junior-worlds, the cadet-worlds, the credentials from coaching at the CAC Games—which is the second largest competition outside of the Olympic Games. Those don’t go anywhere.
You’re a fantastic fighter and a fantastic grappler. My hat is off to you, sir. Keep doing what you’re doing ... When you’re rewriting this, you know how there’s a pull-out quote? That’s your pull-out quote. Those don’t go anywhere. My credentials aren’t made up. If you’d ever like to read my dissertation, it’s online—you can search it, pick it up and read it. Life is great and God is good.
Dr. Rhadi Ferguson is a recognized high-performance enhancement specialist centered in education, business and sport. He may be contacted via email (info@rhadi@com), Twitter (twitter.com/JudoDoc) or online at www.TheTruthAboutMMA.com.
Ed Kapp is a Regina, Saskatchewan-based freelance journalist. Unless otherwise noted, all quotations were obtained firsthand.