Dr. Rhadi Ferguson: ATT’s Conan coaching ‘almost delusional’

Friday, July 27, 2012

According to Dr. Rhadi Ferguson, Hector Lombard’s loss to Tim Boetsch at UFC 149 last Saturday was due in no small part to less that ideal coaching from ATT’s Marcus ‘Conan’ Silviera.

Despite training under Silveira’s American Top Team banner for years during the 2000s, Dr. Ferguson thinks Conan’s coaching doesn’t make the grade.

“As you move up in the ranks of mixed martial arts, as you step up in competition, the quality of the coaching becomes more paramount,” noted Dr. Rhadi Ferguson, 37. “I always refer to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War when it comes to making fight predictions.

“The one thing that you always have to look at, judge and measure are the abilities of the two coaches, the two camps.”

“‘Conan’ got out-coached by Matt Hume and the people in his corner didn’t make the adjustment. Not only did they not make any adjustments, but they were telling Hector that he did fine when he clearly lost the first round.

“It was almost as if his corner was delusional. I’m not sure if the MMA game has passed Conan by—I’m not sure if he was aware of what was going on, I’m not sure if Hector’s corner knew what was going on—but there was no time during that fight where they asked Hector to modify his behaviour.”

“If I was cornering Hector, I would say, ‘Hector, listen, son. You lost the first round, okay? The first round was close. This fight is very easy. You are a 2000 Olympian, you have some of the best takedowns in the world. Here’s what I need you to do: In the next 10 minutes, I need you to get me three takedowns, son. Can you do that?’ The answer would be, ‘Yes.’

“’I need two takedowns in this round, Hector. Can you give me two takedowns?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘I don’t care if you punch, I don’t care if you knock him out—I don’t care about any of that. Hector, I need two takedowns. Do you understand?’”

“‘Hector, listen. I don’t know how the judges are scoring it, but it seems like you won the second round and the first round is up in the air. This is your UFC debut, son, and I need two takedowns in the final round.’”

“I know Conan prepares, but I am not sure about the depth and breadth of his coaching prowess. The stuff that I do, I haven’t seen Conan doing any of that stuff and from my professional opinion, he doesn’t. He couldn’t possibly do the studying and analysis that I do and that the coaches that I’ve worked with over the years do. It’s just not possible. Because if he did, he would not have made such coaching and communication errors. To me, in my opinion, if you asked me to grade Conan’s coaching based on the coaching that I’ve done, he’s not going to make the grade.

“He’s super-knowledgeable, but coaching isn’t one-dimensional. It’s not just based on doing MMA or BJJ. You have to be a student and I challenge him to tell me the last 20 books he’s read on coaching in the last 24 months. I sat down with Greg Jackson for five minutes and, in that time, we had both read seven of the same books in the past 12 months. In my opinion, the game has passed Conan by and the only one who doesn’t know it is Conan. The great thing about having a superb athlete like Hector is that a great athlete covers up bad coaching when the competition disparity is great. Now that Hector is in the UFC, we’ll see how good Conan is. I hope for Hector’s sake he understands that coaches need coaching, too.

“And I’d be happy to have him as a client. I think he’s a wonderful guy. He just needs to learn a bit more, that’s all.”

Read entire article…

ATT General Manager Richie Guerriero responded to the charges.

From: AmericanTopTeam
Member Since: 4/23/02
Posts: 3577

I saw the thread titled “Rhadi: ATT’s Conan coaching ‘almost delusional'” and thought it warranted a response and thread of its own.

Rhadi:  I’ll start this off by saying that we respect everyone’s opinion regarding the sport and our team and fighters. I personally try to read this forum everyday, as do many of our coaches and fighters. There is a lot to be learned from taking the time to read the various viewpoints of knowledgeable people about the sport.

We try not to get offended by criticism. We look at it as objectively as possible and try to correct things that need attention. If Conan, (or Liborio) thought they “knew it all”, we wouldn’t have a bjj coach, wrestling coach, multiple striking coaches, and a s&c coach on staff full time to work with our pro fighters. We, as a team, constantly strive to better ourselves.

In that regard, Conan put an apology up on his Facebook page the day after Hector’s fight saying he could have and should have done a better job. With that said, I am going to buck the trend a little and respond to your comments in more depth because at one time you trained at ATT and there is a little more to the story. I’m sure you read a lot of books and would expect nothing less from a Doctor. I also know you like to market yourself enormously so I will disregard the comments that focus on your knowledge and credentials and focus instead on your assessment of our coach.

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes leading up to a fight that influences the 20 second sound clip you hear between rounds. Sometimes what you hear may be indicative of a coaching error and sometimes you are only seeing one very small piece of a big puzzle that is impossible for an outsider to fully understand. Coaches, like fighters, often go back and review their performances, good and bad. I’m not going to defend or criticize Conan here as he has already spoken on the matter. But I will say that, since some of your infomercials come in the form of journalistic opinion, you probably should have disclosed that Conan asked you to stay away from the ATT gym over a year ago because some of the fighters/coaches didn’t like the way you handled yourself and marketed yourself.

I’m not going to debate whether those opinions were valid and I’m not saying your opinions are affected by what happened , I am, however, saying that I think it’s fair to mention what happened in light of your comments. I probably should have just let your thread run its course and moved on, but sometimes you just can’t help yourself. What can I say, I’m a UGer too. 🙂

American Top Team

ATT fighter Carmelo Marrero was fas less diplomatic.

From: Carmelo Marrero
Member Since: 6/9/05
Posts: 130

This dude is a joke, please take everything he says with a grain of salt. And he is no black belt, one of the worst guys I have ever rolled with at ATT. He tried 10 times to catch me in a BS wrist lock. I have seen everyone under the sun sub the poor guy. Just looking to put his name out there…

Read entire thread…

Conan’s apology:

Not trying to make any excuses or justify, but I feel extremely bad and also I blame myself for Hector Lombard performance last Saturday (UFC 149)…I know the type of fighter he is, the way he trains…

For sure he will return 1000% and show the WORLD what he is capable to do in the “Octagon”…

Sorry to all his fans and followers…. I deeply apologise…

Conan Silveira

Read entire Facebook…