It’s truly a rare occasion when teammates actually fight each other for money. At UFC Fight Night 87, on 8 May, veteran UFC heavyweights–and some times training partners–Andre Arlovski and Alistair Overeem will do just that. And Greg Jackson, co-head of the fighters’ home gym Jackson Wink MMA Academy, has chosen a side.
Jackson, MMA coaching legend to the stars, is planning to corner Andre Arlovski in his upcoming scrap with with Alistair Overeem. This is a major departure from Jackson’s ideology on handling the unusual situation of two of his fighters officially being paired up against each other. In an interview with MMA Junkie, Jackson explains his thinking on this surprise decision.
“I’m going to work with Andrei and corner Andrei for the fight because I promised him I would. Usually I step out, but Andrei’s kind of a special case. We put protocols in place to deal with it when it happens. It’s unfortunate. I don’t like it, but it’s part of the job, and I’ll deal with it.”
It is hard not to feel Jackson is showing some favortism toward Arlovski. And it can bring into question the ethics of his choice. But Arlovski seems to be a friend and Jackson is going to help a friend who’s asking for it. Can’t be mad at that.
Jackson also went into greater detail on how training will be taken care fairly for both fighters at the gym. Despite the unusual situation.
“Alistair will come train at different times, Andrei will train at different times, and it will be business as usual. We’re an enormous team and we knew we would have to fight each other at some point.”
I give the two fighters, the gym, and their coaches credit for not shying away from a fight that could further the careers of either man. Even if one is negatively affected by a loss. In the end, it is just business and nothing personal.