A common theme that I have gleaned while visiting MMA training centers across the country the past few months is that the majority of gyms are against air conditioning. A close second is that most successful gyms and fight teams are like a family.
Although MMA is considered an individual sport, fighters depend on their teammates, coaches, and training partners to help them prepare for their next bout and lean on them for advice, support, and guidance.
Uriah Faber’s Team Alpha Male is made up of several friends whom he has known since high school, and it could be compared to a college fraternity. American Top Team, led by father figure Ricardo Liborio, has a heavy Brazilian influence that places a high premium on family. Twin brothers Trevor and Todd Lally, who run Arizona Combat Sports, are very familiar with the competitive nature of family and don’t let a few squabbles get in the way of their success.
Like every training center and fight team, all families are unique with their own combination of strengths and weaknesses, but, at the end of the day, you always know that they have your back.
Ultimate Fitness/TeamAlpha Male
Location: Sacramento, CA
Founders/Owners: Uriah Faber and Matt Fisher
Fighters Who Train at Alpha Male
• Urijah Faber: Former WEC Featherweight Champion
• Danny Castillo: UFC Lightweight
• Joseph Benavidez: UFC Bantamweight
• Chad Mendes: UFC Featherweight
• Kyacey Uscola: Tachi Palace Middleweight
• Justin Buchholz: Former UFC Lightweight
• Lance Palmer: Four-Time D-I All-American Wrestler
What You Don’t Know
• Many Team Alpha Male members have, at some point in their careers, lived on “The Block,” which is comprised of five rental houses that Faber owns and rents out to other fighters in Sacramento.
What Separates Alpha Male From Everyone Else?
Team Alpha Male forms like Voltron, and Urijah is the head. I think we are the best looking team in MMA.”—Danny Castillo
American Top Team
Location: Coconut Creek, FL
Founder/Owner: Dan Lambert, Ricardo Liborio, Conan Silveira, and Marcelo Silveira
Fighters Who Train at ATT
• Thiago Alves: UFC Welterweight
• Thiago Silva: UFC Light Heavyweight
• Hector Lombard: Bellator Middleweight Champion
• Mike Brown: UFC Featherweight
• Jorge Santiago: SENGOKU Middleweight Champion
• JZ Cavalcante: Strikeforce Lightweight
• Denis Kang: W-1 MMA Middleweight
• Jeff Monson: IFC Heavyweight
• Cole Miller: UFC Lightweight
• Bobby Lashley: Strikeforce Heavyweight
What You Don’t Know
• Although the Coconut Creek, Florida, location is considered American Top Team’s main headquarters, there are 18 other locations in the Sunshine State and training centers in Connecticut, Georgia, Colorado, Oklahoma, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, and Illinois.
What Separates ATT From Everyone Else?
“We have many world-class fighters and a lot of great coaches, and they all give you little bits and pieces. My fight game is like a mosaic—you take a little piece from each guy and put it all together, and then you have your painting.”—Mike Brown
Arizona Combat Sports
Location: Tampa, AZ
Founder/Owner: Trevor and Todd Lally
Fighters Who Train at ACS
• Jamie Varner: UFC Lightweight
• Pat Runez: UWC/PFC Flyweight Champion
• Ryan Diaz: KOTC Bantamweight
• Estevan Payan: Bellator Featherweight
• Jacob McClintock: Bellator Welterweight
What You Don’t Know
• After sharpening their MMA skills at AZ Combat, former ASU wrestlers CB Dollaway, Ryan Bader, and Aaron Simpson left the team in June 2010 to start their own gym. However, the next generation of former Sun Devils is beginning their careers at ACS including John Moraga, Clifford Starks, and Pat Runez.
What Separates ACS From Everyone Else?
“We don’t use wrestling to win. We use wrestling to add to our fighters’ stand-up. Most wrestlers can’t strike, and we try to teach them to use their strengths to build up their weaknesses.”—Trevor Lally