In traditional martial arts your dojo was considered sacred and was never challenged. Joining a dojo or discipline was like joining a family, the ideals of the system and your instructor became your own ideals. Tides have changed over the past few years as MMA has become more mainstream and popular. Athletes have had to evolve and rather than training in one discipline they have to travel around to receive more well rounded training. However when do old loyalties die? When is it acceptable to turn your back on training partners and give information that could possibly result in his defeat?
If you watched the first episode of the recent UFC Primetime show you will know what situation I am speaking of. Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy requested to train with Matt Serra to gain firsthand knowledge on how Serra managed to finish GSP at UFC 69 with power strikes. Since Hardy feels his hands are his best weapon against GSP he feels that Serra’s guidance will be invaluable. Here is where it gets complicated, in the same episode GSP was shown training with Renzo Gracie.
George has been training with the Renzo Gracie academy for the past seven years and is very loyal to that camp. Renzo is also taking advantage of having GSP around due to the fact that George has fought his next opponent Matt Hughes. The situation becomes complicated with the connection between GSP and Serra. Serra is the first American student to receive a black belt under Renzo. Serra has cornered and helped Renzo train for several fights. The door also has swung the other way since Renzo has trained and cornered Matt in several fights including his recent battle with Hughes.
So the question is evident, how can you train someone to defeat a student who trains under your original teacher? Is it simply sour grapes since Serra was dismantled by GSP in their follow up bout? There have been memorable times where the Gracie’s have voiced outrage for men who jump from camp to camp and Renzo is no exception. BJ Penn was called a traitor and a snake for leaving the Gracie camp only to challenge Renzo to a fight when he had moved on.
Why would Matt Serra have such a grudge when GSP had expressed excitement to train him during season four of the Ultimate Fighter? Is it simply that the old ways have died? Are camps simply a place you visit only to have to fight each other tomorrow? We will see how the situation unfolds this upcoming Wednesday.