(I only counted 280 “likes” and 372 “dudes.” No way that was actually Faber on the phone. via MMAFighting)
So as we all know, the fallout between Duane Ludwig and Team Alpha Male — specifically, TAM leader Urijah Faber — has been a bit heated, with both sides lobbing some pretty strong accusations at one another. First, Ludwig claimed that TJ Dillashaw was the only fighter on the team who trained “like a champion.” Faber then hit back, calling Ludwig “difficult to deal with” and his eventual departure from the team “a breath of fresh air.”
Recently, Ludwig attempted to apologize for his comments, while maintaining that Dillashaw “trained differently” than the rest of TAM.
“I say some stupid stuff sometimes,” Ludwig said. “And they’re training at their full potential. T.J. just really wants it. If you look at it in comparison, there’s a difference. You can just see it, you can feel it. And it’s just different with T.J.”
When asked to respond to Ludwig’s quote unquote apology on yesterday’s MMA Hour, Faber had had enough, it seemed, and unleashed a barrage of harsh claims Ludwig’s way in a lengthy, eye-opening interview.
Accusation #1: Ludwig is a sexist who refuses to work with women
“I had a girl from Alaska who said that Duane keeps on saying these comments. And first off, Duane refused to work with any females. He said, ‘I just want to tell you, I’m not supportive of women’s MMA. I won’t be working with anybody, I won’t be working with Paige (VanZant), I’m not going to be working with Nicky, I’m not going to work with Veronica. I don’t believe in it.’ Okay. That was an issue.”
Accusation #2: Ludwig has a penchant for making racist jokes
“The second thing was, he was saying racial things. And that’s what I’m saying when I say, things aren’t jokes just because you laughed at them, especially if they’re hurtful. So I had two of the African-American guys on our team who approached me and said, ‘this is getting real uncomfortable. It’s funny one time, I guess, when he says stuff like, all the black guys at the end of the line. But he’s saying it every single day.’ Then one guy says, ‘every single time I’m in the gym and I’m talking to a girl, Duane yells across the gym, hey, so-and-so, all black guys 25 feet away from the females.’ He says, ‘I get it, he thinks it’s funny, whatever. But he keeps doing it and it’s really getting on my nerves.’”
Accusation #3: Ludwig’s financial instability has made him a monster
“He’s getting his salary, then he starts charging everybody for privates. And there’s a point where T.J. (Dillashaw) is like, ‘man, I don’t know what to do. Duane is bleeding me. I’m doing his videos for him after class, I’m doing this, and he’s still charging me for privates. I need to have a talk with him.’ T.J. has a talk with him. He’s charging everyone, and I feel bad for [Ludwig]. He’s selling peanut butter at the front desk, he’s doing all these things to make extra cash, he’s leaving every single weekend to go do a seminar, even if it’s for a couple hundred bucks. I’m like dude, I appreciate the hustle, but let’s just settle down. Let’s let the apple grow into a ripe, red apple before you start trying to pull it off the tree when it’s green and sour. Give it some time.
“So then it comes to my first fight that he corners me. I have my partner Scott who’s in Texas who owns Torque, and so Duane wants to wear his own shirt in my corner with a conflicting brand, Fear the Fighter, instead of Torque. … I said, ‘Duane, dude, my partner is going to be pissed off. Like, you didn’t okay this with him if you wear another brand. No one talked to him, he’s going to be pissed. Can you wear like a Duane Bang shirt or one of the other sponsors or something like that?’ This is 30 minutes before I’m about to go fight my fight. I said, ‘here dude, here’s this phone number. If you can call and get the okay from him’ — granted, this is 30 minutes before I’m about to go out and fight, and this is the first time having him in the corner — ‘if you can talk to my partner and get him to okay wearing the shirt, then you’re good.’
“Apparently, I didn’t find this out until afterward, he tries to shake down my partner for $300. He’s trying to get my guy to pay him $300 to wear my shirt, this and that. I didn’t know until way later when my partner told me, and it just baffled me.
In addition to all this, Faber also called Ludwig a “bully” and “tyrant” who is threatening trying to sue Team Alpha Male for not fulfilling a contract which he himself refused to sign.
While I’m not quite prepared to throw Ludwig under the bus based on hearsay, even though Faber has always struck me as stand-up, honest guy, an r/MMA thread has compiled a few things of note that certainly don’t help Ludwig’s case here.
Example #1: During the interview, Faber repeatedly brought up the notion that Ludwig is a very emotionally unstable guy, especially so when he’s interrupted. Knowing that, check out how Ludwig reacts when Joe Rogan dares to interrupt him during his appearance appearance on Rogan’s podcast back in August of 2013. The first instance happens at 47:08 in (queued up below) and the second just over a minute later (at 48:41).
Brian Redban’s reaction to this act of insolence is just priceless.
Example #2: Faber also recounted a story about Ludwig’s first time cornering a TAM member — Danny Castillo at UFC on FUEL 7 — which is cringe worthy to say the least. Apparently Ludwig, broke and sponsorless (minus a peanut butter company who was allegedly paying him in their product), showed up to the event offering to wear the signature shirt of any fighter competing on the card for $250, regardless of the fact that he was cornering Castillo. According to Faber, Ludwig hawked his services as close to half an hour before Castillo’s fight with Paul Sass.
Here’s an interview with Ludwig from that night. You’ll notice he is wearing a Tom “Kong” Watson shirt. Tom Watson competed at FUEL TV 7 just two fights before Danny Castillo.
There’s also the fact that Ludwig’s reaction to Faber’s comments in a follow-up interview with MMAFighting today didn’t exactly paint him as an innocent party.
On the sexism accusations: “I wouldn’t say I’m against women’s MMA. I do feel uneasy seeing a woman get punched in the face. That, I don’t like. Women’s grappling and wrestling, that’s cool. But seeing a woman punched in the face, I don’t really necessarily like that. There’s awesome women’s fights, but it still makes me feel a bit weird. But yeah, I don’t like to train women.”
On the racism accusations: “I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about. There’s jokes floating around the gym all the time. For him to point me out, like what the hell dude?”
On the financial issues with TAM: ”We definitely had a couple lapses. Every time we talked I thought one thing was said and then apparently something else was said. So there’s multiple times when we had what I thought were agreements and the result was always me getting short-handed. I don’t get it. That’s why we always had problems, because we always had a conversation, we’d agree on certain things and when it came time for certain things to happen, they wouldn’t.”
Again, there’s a lot of he said/she said going on here, but if it was me who had just been accused of being an emotionally unstable racist/sexist with financial issues, I might have brought a stronger counter-argument to the table than, “What the hell dude?” Again, this is just me. But what say you, Nation? Do you find any truth in Faber’s accusations, or is it just another case of egos clashing?