Note: Edwards’s gym, Team Renegade, has since responded to Machado Garry’s comments. Read the gym’s statement to The Independent here.
UFC contender Ian Machado Garry has said he is no longer allowed to train at Leon Edwards’s gym, after the welterweight champion and his coach expressed concern over “doubts and insecurities” at Team Renegade.
The unbeaten Machado Garry has trained at various gyms in numerous countries in recent months, but told The Independent that he will not be able to return to Renegade, at the request of Edwards and his coach Dave Lovell.
The Irishman did, however, stress his appreciation of Ash Begg and Tom Breese, who run Team Renegade.
“Gym conflict has absolutely been a massive issue recently,” said Machado Garry, who turns 26 in November and faces teammate Vicente Luque in December. “Leon Edwards, his head coach asked me not to come back to Renegade; told me I’m not allowed to train there.
“I have to word this correctly, because I don’t wanna be… Firstly, I wanna put out there that Ash and Tom, who run Renegade… I don’t wanna give any negatives without saying a positive. I don’t want any s*** with any gyms. The guys at Renegade… it was a great energy. Tom and Ash were very welcoming, lovely and nice to me. It was nothing to do with them.
“Leon and his head coach had an issue with me training on the mats and recently have asked me not to train there, because, ‘Leon doesn’t want any insecurities or doubts on his own mats, within the gym,’ which I don’t fully understand.
“I get that we’re both in the top 10 and you might see me as a threat, but I’m not a threat to you right now; I’m not fighting for the title right now. His coach said the words: ‘Ian is a threat, I cannot have Leon having any doubts or insecurities.’
“That makes me think someone is weak minded and can’t have another contender training on the mat. That’s why gym conflict is annoying. For me, why not have that other elite guy on the mat? Why not train with him? Why not have him push you? Why not learn and grow from each other?
“It’s very irritating, because I’m a young fighter who wants to be the best in the world, who wants to train with the best in the world, and Renegade is the best gym in the UK. I went there to learn from the guys around Birmingham and who have essentially proven that it’s the best gym in the UK; I didn’t go there to train with Leon, I went there to train with that gym, because they’re amazing.
“Now I’m being stopped from going to a gym, because I might potentially fight Leon in 18 months. My attitude is: If that’s the case, why not have this conversation in six months?
“I love the guys at Renegade. They’re really nice and welcoming, I rang them beforehand to make sure everything was good. Then, after the second day I was there, they were like: ‘Oh, we can’t have you back, Leon and some of his team don’t want this.’
“So, when we talk about conflict, that’s it. There’s a piece for you to write, for sure!”
The Independent contacted Edwards, Lovell and Team Renegade for comment, with the gym later issuing the following statement: “Sometimes the coaches allow fighters to come in from the outside, but this is very much a privilege and not the norm. If the coaches feel it’s not adding to the team’s culture, a fighter is refused entrance. Ian Garry’s more nomadic approach to preparation has given him great results, but it’s not in line with what we are creating at Team Renegade.”
Machado Garry last fought in August, beating Neil Magny via unanimous decision. The “Future” is next in action at UFC 296 in December, facing teammate Luque.
Meanwhile, Edwards last fought in March, outpointing Kamaru Usman to retain the welterweight title that he took from his old rival with a head-kick knockout last August. The Birmingham fighter, 32, is due to headline UFC 296, defending his belt against former interim champion Colby Covington.
Watch UFC 296 live on TNT Sports in the UK and Ireland, on Saturday 16 December.