American Top Team introduces “zero tolerance” policy for trash-talking in wake of Colby Covington's bust ups with former teammates
- The gym boasts of world-class fighters and on the flip-side, some really huge egos.
- Covington has made quite a few enemies inside the very gym he swore his undying loyalty to.
American Top Team is the breeding ground for top MMA fighters around the world. The gym boasts of world class fighters and on the flip-side, some really huge egos which have been evident from the rivalries that stemmed out of the gym. UFC welterweight Colby Covington has made quite a few enemies inside the very gym he swore his undying loyalty to, thanks to his trash-talking style of promoting fights.
However, going forward, Covington or any other member of the ATT won't likely be involved in anymore rivalries between teammates because of the gym's “zero tolerance” policy for trash-talking.
Speaking to MMA Fighting, ATT owner Dan Lambert revealed that these rivalries affect not only the two people concerned, but the whole gym, essentially and he regretted not stopping it from the outset.
"It’s gotten personal, and I think I was wrong. I think I made a mistake. I think I should have nipped it in the bud, and it’s gotten to the point where it’s trickled down where it affects coaches, it affects training partners, it affects vibes at the gym, and as a result, we’ve adjusted and come up with a new policy."
Lambert further clarified that unless two fighters from the gym have signed a contract to fight one another, there is a gag order on talking about people at the gym and everyone has to follow the same or look for another place to train.
”Unless you have a bout agreement to fight someone, in which case there obviously needs to be some promotion, there’s a gag order on talking about people at the gym. If that’s something a fighter chooses they need to do, then they have to go train somewhere else.”
Covington has had issues with other fighters from the gym in the past, including former UFC women's strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Covington's former roommate and best friend Jorge Masvidal. A payment related dispute led to the bust up between Masvidal and Covington and they indulged in trash talking and even threatened physical harm to each other. Lambert said that he is looking to avoid situations like this in the future and that's why he brought in this new rule.
”I don’t think there are options – it’s an absolute zero-tolerance policy. If you do it and you break it, go somewhere else. No individual is bigger than the team, and the fact of the matter is, the team’s going to be here 30 years from now, still doing the same thing when certain individuals are long gone. We’re going to set up something that’s best for the environment in the gym and for the people in the gym today and tomorrow.”Published 22 Mar 2020, 22:59 IST