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Tony Ferguson’s Jiu-Jitsu Coach Eddie Bravo Outlines Why Mid-Fight Coaching Was “a Mistake”

The MMA world is still processing Justin Gaethje’s dominant, stoppage win over Tony Ferguson [1] at UFC 249 [2], and now a new storyline has entered the fray. How so?

Recently Ferguson’s jiu-jitsu coach, 10th Planet founder Eddie Bravo admitted that he should not have been tapped to advise “El Cucuy” on what to do in his scrap with Gaethje.

Bravo says it was a “mistake” to have him coach Ferguson heading into round five

Heading into UFC 249, the consensus was that Ferguson would likely emerge from the fight victorious, and advance to a bout with the lightweight champ, Khabib Nurmagomedov. While everyone knew that Gaethje is extremely dangerous, the former WSOF champ agreed to face Ferguson on short notice.

Further, in “El Cucuy” he was facing one of the most well rounded fighters in the game, who had won 12 straight.

Well, as you know, Gaethje bested Ferguson in many exchanges and ended up stopping the battered fighter in round five. As a result, there’s been a lot of talk about what went wrong for the former interim champ.

Since then, Bravo appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast. [3]While discussing the fight and how Ferguson’s team responded, Bravo said this (quotes via MMA Fighting [4]).

“I have never been a head MMA coach ever in my life,” Bravo said. “Never wanted to be. Never wanted to be and even to this day, that’s on me, never been.

I’m not Trevor Wittman, that guy’s amazing. I’m not a Greg Jackson, Duke Roufus. That’s a whole ‘nother level. That’s a guy that should be talking to the fighter that’s sitting down.

“I’m the wide receiver coach. I’m the guy that just throws in s*it on the side. Especially in a standup fight, I shouldn’t have been mic’d, because I knew this was gonna be a standup fight.

If the fight was gonna go to the ground, if it was the Khabib (Nurmagomedov) fight, yeah, maybe there’s gonna be a lot of ground work, maybe it makes sense for television to mic me.

But when they were mic’ing me up, I’m like, I’m just there for emotional support because it’s gonna be a standup war.”

“One of the weirdest things was in between the first round and second round, they only allowed one coach in and they said, ‘Who’s it gonna be?’ And I was the first one to say, ‘Not me,’” Bravo said. “I’m not the MMA head coach, it’s gotta be the striking coach that goes in there. Everybody agreed, for sure.

“It’s always gotta be the striking coach, the head coach, the guy that talks to him. I’m just the guy that offers suggestions. I never wanted to be [the head coach], never tried to be.”

Then, while talking specifically about what unfolded late in the bout, Bravo relayed this.

“….“But after that fourth round, it was looking like, ‘Oh, s*it.’ And right when the bell rung after the fourth round, Rashad turns around like, ‘Eddie, get in there.’ I wasn’t ready for it. I wasn’t ready to walk in there.

So I walked in there going, ‘What the f*ck? I’m not an MMA head coach.’ This is the fourth round, he’s hurt, and plus, my car got broken into last week, they stole my glasses.

I need my glasses, I’m pretty blind. So I didn’t realize how cut up he was until I walked up to him. Okay,

I’m supposed to give him advice, this wide receiver coach. It was a mistake for me to go in there. It was a mistake.”

What’s next for Ferguson?

It’s interesting to see Bravo being so candid and honest, about what transpired and where they went wrong. Now it remains to be seen what’s going to come next for Ferguson.

Will “El Cucuy” end up fighting a top lightweight contender like say, Dustin Poirier? Or might Conor McGregor agree to face him?