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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Though Duane "Bang" Ludwig's impending exodus from Team Alpha Male has been pegged as amicable, and he's talked about leaving of his own volition to go home to Colorado, there seems to be more to the story.
Take the latest comments from the camp's founder, Urijah Faber, who said in an interview with MMAFighting.com that there was a disconnect between he and Ludwig that led to some added tensions between the two.
"Duane did a great job running his practice and he's passionate about his stuff," Faber began. "We implemented a lot of his drills during our set practices and it turned out great. But he was a little difficult to deal with here and there. And so actually it's kind of a breath of fresh air to have parted ways. And actually, since we made this announcement of him leaving, it's been the smoothest between he and I, in the business side of things, since he's been here."
"Duane's a real emotional guy. So sometimes he's really, really happy, like excited, screaming around. Sometimes he's real serious. Sometimes he's emotional; he's been to tears in practice talking about things he's passionate about and talking to guys. So there was some friction here and there, but it was just very short-lived and kind of confusing, to be honest. Kind of friction, but then, like, not friction, so kind of up and down."
Faber and Team Alpha Male are seeking a new long-term replacement for the coaching role Ludwig has held this past year, but Faber's in no rush as he wants to secure someone who fits his own vision for the team.
"I feel like you've got to let a guy go where he wants to go if he's not in the bigger picture of things and understanding being a part of what I'm trying to build for the long run," Faber said. "I'm relieved to have the opportunity to find someone that is more involved and more thinking about the big picture for my team, the team that I've been building for 11 years. So we're going to miss having [Ludwig] coach because he did a great job coaching, but I'm looking forward to having someone that is about the big picture for our team, which is multiple world champions for years and years and years to come."
Penick's Analysis: One of the things about that camp over the years is that they've housed a tremendous amount of talent, though haven't been able to put everything together in the biggest fights in which they've been featured. Ludwig's presence seemed to provide a spark, for a time, but clearly wasn't fully working out for Faber specifically, and when it's his team, it may have ultimately been his call. They'll find someone who perhaps is more compatible with Faber on all fronts, but whether that will be what moves them to the next level remains to be seen.
[Urijah Faber art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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