Mackenzie Dern discusses husband fistfighting former coach

#15 ranked UFC women’s strawweight Mackenzie Dern appeared recently on the What the Heck show and said she had been training at Black House, but recently moved to Jason Parillo. The change was amicable, except once, when it wasn’t – her husband, pro surfer Wesley Santos got into a fistfight with Black House coach Juan Gomez, with her father, Brazilian jiu-jitsu monster Wellington “Megaton” Dias cornering.

“My ex-coach Juan Gomez, I don’t know what happened that he called us to go to the academy to talk,” said Dern. “I think he was unhappy with a bonus, like money-wise for my last fight. Basically, I always ask my coaches, ‘Hey, during camp, if you have anything, just talk to my husband.’ Obviously, at home me and him talk about everything, so we’re the same person, but when I’m in camp I don’t want to have to think about it. I don’t want to think about money or coaches or anything like that, let’s just talk about training.

“So my husband talked to him. My husband’s like this surfer guy, you know, totally good vibes, afro, definitely not the fighter style. He went to go talk to him and [Gomez] was just like, ‘No, if you want to come to the academy, come to the academy and we’ll talk,’ and hung up. We went to the academy and he just swept dirt onto my husband, pushed him, and my husband pushed him back and they just went into a fistfight. It wasn’t like a brawl, a crazy brawl, it was like a street fight or technical fistfight. Back and forth, my husband’s doing feints, and I’m like, ‘Where’s he learning all this?’ It was so crazy.”

“I think they both kind of thought that they were going to separate this fight and everyone’s just kind of like, ‘Hey, one-on-one. My dad’s there trying to coach his son-in-law, ‘Okay, turn to your right, you’re doing good.’ And they’re fully fighting and my husband did so good.

“As soon as I saw that my coach attacked my husband, that just finished it for us. I love Black House and everything they’ve done for me, but that coach, I can’t work with that. No matter how much, I don’t know, if you’re mad about it because your bonus wasn’t high enough, you just can’t attack someone. Especially when my husband is so humble with water and he’s like, ‘Can we have that talk that you asked me to do?’ I don’t know what happened. To this day we still don’t know exactly what pushed it to that level.”

Dern describes the fracas as “a blessing in disguise,” noting that under Parillo her striking has improved markedly.

“It’s crazy how much information, how much it’s opened my eyes,” said Dern. “A totally different style of coaching, of me learning and everything, different energy. It’s really opened my eyes to different things that I was missing, that I was doing wrong, little details that he gave me that helped my striking so much more. I feel way more balanced, I guess not throwing so much, leaning into my punches, I’m way more set.

“Just in training there’s Luke Rockhold and [Marlon] ‘Chito’ Vera and Scott Eastwood and just all these guys out there training, and we’re all just exchanging information and having fun. And coach Parillo’s there just helping me prepare. … It’s just a good energy, it really opened my eyes to so many more things now.”

h/t Alexander K. Lee for MMA Fighting

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