Greg Jackson likes to portray his gym as a family atmosphere; guys who train with one another, day in and day out, often form a "brotherhood" of sorts. However, it now looks like Jackson will have to play the father role between UFC fighters Rustam Khabilov and Ali Bagautinov.
There's a report from Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer (subscription required) saying the two were involved in a real fight behind the gym's closed doors:
If that's not bad enough, there was a real fight in the gym with Bagautinov and Rustam Khabilov. While everyone is publicly playing it down, everyone also admits it happened. The way we heard it was Khabilov, who is a lightweight, gave Bagautinov a beating, although not bad enough to cause him to pull out of the fight.
This isn't the first incident between the two, either. Per Inside MMA's Twitter account, the two scuffled back in May and had to be separated. USA Today's Mike Bohn reported that Bagautinov would later avoid answering any questions about the incident.
If you look at the tale of the tape, Khabilov is a lightweight at 155 pounds, while Bagautinov is a flyweight at 125 pounds. It's not uncommon for guys in different weight classes to spar or roll with one another, but that's a big difference in weight that leads me to wonder what kind of training the two were actually doing.
I'm also wondering why, in a gym full of top MMA fighters, these two were not only allowed to be paired up with one another but that nobody was able to intervene before things got serious.
Considering both guys have high-profile fights coming up, it would lead me to believe that what happened is that one guy likely went harder than anticipated and one thing lead to another. Of course, that's pure speculation on my part, but due to the time I've spent training in MMA gyms, I know that some guys don't have any speed but 110 percent and can't turn it down.
Luckily, Bagautinov wasn't injured in the fight, as he's slated to take on UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson at UFC 174 on June 14. Khabilov, meanwhile, will take on former lightweight champ Benson Henderson on June 7.