Kos dropped a bombshell at the post-fight press conference that he has split from the San Jose-based camp and that he will now prepare for his future bouts in his Fresno AKA location – though he isn’t sure that he’ll keep the affiliation of the gym the same. He clarified with MMAWeekly that the decision to leave the gym was a result of a handful of slights Mendez made towards him and his teammates following losses the fighters incurred.
“This goes back from quite a bit, and history repeats itself. Whenever you have a guy for example whenever I had the loss against [Thiago] Alves and I took the fight on short notice with him, and after the fight I had a lot of friends come up to me and calling me saying, ‘Have you read this interview with Javier Mendez?’ and talking about me and my game plan. So I went online and I read this interview and I started to notice after all my teammates lost, it was the same thing,” Koscheck recalled. “[He'd say things like], ‘They didn’t listen to the game plan,’ — that he deferred it away from himself, and he threw us under the bus basically, saying that we didn’t listen to him and he tries to make himself look good, so it doesn’t reflect on him us losing. I’ve lost a lot of respect for Javier Mendez as a coach, as a person, because if you go back and listen to the history of the interviews of him after AKA guys have lost, the interviews he does, go back and look at the Cain Velasquez [fight], go back and look at the Josh Koscheck [fight], the other guys on that team, and see if you can find interviews where he refers to, ‘Oh I did my job,’ to make himself look good and they didn’t do theirs. That’s not a coach.”
Kos says that another issue he had with Mendez is that he put getting exposure for his brand ahead of taking care of the fighters that made it a household name. Although he didn’t say it, it looks like there may have been more than meets the eye to the recent departure of longtime AKA coach Dave Camarillo, given the way he describes the atmosphere at the gym.
“There was a lot of poison going on around there and I’m really disappointed because we had a good thing going. It was a good thing and I think people’s egos got in the way. Well, not people just Javier, his ego got in the way, and too many cameras in the gym and him trying to build himself up and his brand — his AKA brand, which is fine. I understand that, but it should never take precedence over training guys. As a head coach of a gym and he says he’s the man, he’s the boss over there, he should have the responsibility to make the fighters as best as we possibly could be, but he never did that,” he maintains. “It’s because DeWayne Zinkin and Bob Cook recruited us to go there. That’s the only reason that everybody’s there, it’s not because of Javier Mendez, it’s not because of the gym AKA; it’s because of DeWayne Zinkin and Bob Cook. They built this thing. They brought the best guys in the world together. Bob Cook and Dave Camarillo they’re always responsible and they take their share of wins and losses and that’s what you’ve got to love about those guys. Bob Cook and Dave Camarillo, they’re loyal. You lose, guess what, it was all of our faults. They take the brunt of that. Javier is more concerned about the camp and looking good and who’s going to be the next guy to bring him money. I just can’t be around that anymore.”
As far as training with his former teammates like Jon Fitch, Cain Velasquez, Mike Swick, Luke Rockhold and Daniel Cormier goes, he says that they are still teammates regardless of whether or not they compete under the AKA banner or not and that they will continue to train together, just not under Mendez’s roof.
“Those guys are my brothers. They’ll be in my wedding. I know Fitch is going to have a baby soon, I’m going to go up there the day he has his baby. That’s my family. That’s my adopted family. We’ve bled together for eight years; that ain’t changing. I’m still going to train with them, but I will never step foot in AKA in San Jose again. I’m not really concerned about trying to create a camp; it’s going to happen. I get paid pretty well so I’ll pay guys to come in and train with me for a few weeks,” he says. ”If any fighters want to come train, my doors are open. I’ll give them a free place to live, and a great training atmosphere,” says Koscheck. I basically trained myself the whole last training camp. Actually more than that, it’s been the last three or four training camps, I trained myself. So it’s like, why be away from Fresno where I have two gyms I built, I have an amazing house, I have amazing family here and friends, and people that support me here. I can’t do that.
“Had I stayed there my career would only be one or two more fights. I think it affected me a lot. I knew I was going to make this announcement after the fight; I obviously wanted to win and have that opportunity to make that announcement at the press conference,” Kos explains, pointing out why he didn’t perform as well as he should have against Mike Pierce Saturday night. “I was going to do it in the Octagon. There’s a lot of emotion in this because this has been my life for eight years. Since I’ve been in the UFC and started my career training, I’ve been there and I don’t know anything different. It’s going to be a new change and a new chapter for me. New beginnings.”
Although some might assume that this development opens up the possibility of him fighting teammate Jon Fitch, Koscheck says that it still isn’t happening even if they aren’t fighting under the same affiliation.
“That ain’t ever going to happen. I’ll move up a weight class or I’ll just quit,” he says flatly. “Dana White, he’s great about it, he was joking with me at the press conference and I joked with him back and I said, ‘Good luck with that one, buddy.’ If me and Fitch became the number one contenders, if we were fighting edge to edge for the title for the number one contender [slot], then I could see why Dana would say ‘yeah you guys need to fight’ but I would probably just end up walking away from the sport. Because it doesn’t mean that much to me to fight a friend.”