Welcome to the third installment of FindMMAGym’s fight team comparisons!

To recap we have seen Black House come out ahead of The Blackzilians and then A.K.A. defeat Xtreme Couture.  As promised in the conclusion of last week’s article, we will be seeing how American Top Team matches up against Jackson’s Submission Fighting.

As with the last two pieces, the schools will be competing in three separate categories: Team Atmosphere, Management and Quality of Training. The victor of this week’s comparison will join our aforementioned winners and advance to the semi- final round. Now it’s time for the fight teams’ reputations speak for themselves as they go head to head.

Celebrating its ten year anniversary this year, American Top Team (ATT hereafter) is perhaps one of the most prominent and most talked about MMA training facilities in the business. With a cast of fighters that really spans all areas of the globe and all levels of disciplines, ATT boasts talented veterans and well-rounded new comers alike. While ATT has seen its fair share of fluctuation with top level stars entering and exiting, they have always maintained a strong and welcoming training atmosphere.  Not to mention, outsiders such as UFC’s Joe Rogan have been quoted as saying, “In my opinion, American Top Team is the best MMA camp in the country!”

In response, what does Jackson’s Submission Fighting bring to the other side of the proverbial cage?

In terms of experience, Jackson’s Submission Fighting (JSF) was formed officially only two years prior to ATT. Have those two years propelled the team atmosphere ahead of that of ATT? Well citing former Team Jackson Fighters Melvin Guillard and Rashad Evans, it appears unstable at best. While Guillard took the high road during his exodus from JSF, Evans publicly hasn’t decried Jackson, rather choosing to direct his comments to current UFC Light Heavyweight, Jon “Bones” Jones. While we won’t rehash the trash talk, we will say that this one is a pretty tough call.

Category: Team Atmosphere

Advantage: American Top Team

Why: Both ATT and JSF are well respected schools with generally professional team members. The fact that there isn’t a great deal of animosity to be found within or for each camp and their members say a lot for both schools. That coupled with the fact Diego Sanchez (who has since returned to Jackson’s camp) had a similar exit from JSF when compared to that of Evans, because of Georges St Pierre’s attendance.  There is also the fact that Heavyweight contender Antonio Silva has returned to ATT, but as a fighter it hasn’t been about personal issues with other team members. There also appears to be a significant difference in terms of longevity with ATT fighters versus JSF. Shuga and Bones had to go and ruin it for JSF on this go round. This allows ATT to get by on this one by the narrowest of split decision margins.

Our analysis of both ATT’s and JSF’S team vibe actually leads in quite well to the next category; Management. Both schools have exceptional records with their athletes, as was eluded to above.

Let’s face it, in this day and age, it’s not all about winning fights, it’s also about endorsements. And JSF along with the management of First Round Management, have been instrumental in getting the Swoosh displayed on Jones’ fight trunks. Has ATT been able to do the same for those that train with them? In a word: No.

Category: Management

Advantage: Jackson’s Submission Fighting

Why: Nike. This four-letter word is not only huge for Jones in terms of payout, but also the name recognition that goes along with it. While ATT may arguably have more respect in terms of top tier competition, a fighter’s career is only so long, and not everyone is going to be invited into the commentator’s booth following retirement (I’m talking to you Stephan Bonnar and Kenny Florian). It’s the endorsement checks that in the long term will make the difference and determine who was shopped around to the proper channels and marketed better.

Albuquerque, New Mexico. Coconut Creek, Florida. Two fairly humble cities where JSF and ATT ply their trade respectively on a day to day basis. Oh wait, what’s that you say? ATT isn’t just in Florida? Well you would be correct. At present ATT’s fight training and self-defense systems have been adopted by over 60 martial arts academies in 30+ states.  While Jackson may have his share of accolades and championships, he also only has 1 location.

Category: Quality of Training

Advantage: American Top Team

Why: Sheer numbers put ATT ahead of Jackson with a knockout punch in round 3. When your training regimen is so successful that it allows you to branch out across the continent your formula is hard to question.

Advantage Overall: American Top Team

Everyone has their favorite MMA stars and it is likely a safe bet that at least someone from Jackson’s camp is being rooted for by the majority of fans while in the Octagon, American Top Team still manages to outpace the New Mexico-based Jackson’s Submission Fighting.

Be sure to check out our next installment where we will see who comes out on top between Team Quest and Brazilian Top Team!

By: David “Doc Schroyer