Now I know what you’re thinking. You can’t possibly be looking to compare a stable full of some of MMAs most legendary fighters to a group like the Blackzilians, with an average age and experience level that is roughly half that of the fighters that are under the Black House banner.
In fact, that is exactly what I am going to do. This article will be the first in a series where the fight teams themselves, as a whole, will compete for MMA dominance.
The Blackzilians have come under a great deal of scrutiny after forming their “superteam” in 2011 because well let’s face it; the expectations were high and quite frankly their formation hasn’t delivered a lot in the way of filling the W columns of their respective fighters. Conversely, Black House founded in 2006 has some of the most consistently winning fighters, if not at least some of the winningest fighters in MMA.
But all that being said what is the difference between a “successful” fight team and an “unsuccessful” team? Well before we can answer that what exactly is a fight team supposed to provide for their athletes? The obvious answer is fight training and preparation. From there we would expect a formalized team to handle the management aspect of their fighters. On occasion these duties are handled in-house, though sometimes they can be a separate firm closely affiliated with a certain gym. Finally, camaraderie in the way of a second home is valuable to the fighters that train full time. So let’s start with breaking down how well each of our aforementioned teams do at that first.
A positive team atmosphere during training can serve an athlete well. A large portion of their day is spent among their peers at the gym. To put this in perspective, imagine going into an office job 8 hours a day with people you can’t stand, aren’t supportive and have no way of helping you do your job any better. To hear the Blackzilians tell it, they have the market cornered on perhaps the most fundamental aspect of being a team. Prominent team member Rashad Evans states the following on the subject, “[the Blackzilians] are about guys coming together, training hard, putting in a lot of work, and helping each other out like brothers.”
Category: Team Atmosphere
Advantage: The Blackzilians.
Why: Black House might have members that have known each other longer and get along better but The Blackzilians mention their closeness even when not asked- when’s the last time you heard or read an interview where a Blackzilian team member wasn’t talking about how great it is to train with the talent there in Boca Raton?
So how do the teams do with management of their athletes? If we take a look at the Blackzilians on the surface all appears to be well. Although, part of the management aspect with any athlete is promotion. Those in charge need to not only advance the fighters but also the team itself in order to build legitimacy, not only with fans but also with promoters and attract fresh talent. Have the Blackzilians and staff done enough to build up the team in this manner? Have they even had enough time since their formation to do so? Authentic Sports Management (the firm that represents a lion’s share of Blackzilian athletes) offers the following, “With a mandate to help clients grow and succeed, both personally and professionally, our services are some of the most innovative and comprehensive in the business, including championship training and nutrition, business affairs, marketing, media/social media, custom videos, Public Relations, personal development, and more.” Meanwhile it seems Black House has a more methodical approach. According to their site and representation Tough Media they are quoted as saying, “Representing a family of elite athletes, Tough Media was founded to create a symbiotic relationship between its fighters and the brands and organizations they represent.”
Advantage: Black House
Why: Black House has managed to secure a myriad of sponsorships not directly related to MMA for their fighters. Anderson Silva alone has contracts with Burger King, Nike and Corinthians, the Brazilian soccer club.
Lastly, what do we think about each coaching team’s ability to adequately prepare their fighter’s for their bouts in order to launch a successful game plan and secure a win? Black House seems to have this down to a science with their entire roster averaging a 74% win percentage throughout their combined careers. If we take a look at the Blackzilians overall careers they are trailing just slightly with 72%. However, upon reviewing some of their bigger stars more recent records in accordance with joining the Blackzilian team, we get a different picture. Rashad Evans and Anthony Johnson are a modest 2-1 and 1-1 respectively, since joining, as is Jake Shields. Shield’s last defeat being the first time the grappler had been finished in over a decade. There are also Overeem’s issues with the NSAC, which is an entirely different subject. The key difference between Black House and the Blackzilians in this area seems to be each fighter’s individual longevity with their respective team. Black House has also had its share of fighter losses during the last 16 months but because of that team’s age they have also had their share of wins.
Category: Quality of Training
Advantage: Black House
Why: While both teams have a deep roster of talent, Black House has had the more successful run, even when the age of the team itself is removed from the equation. With names like the Nogueira brothers, Machida, Rizzo, to less seasoned fighters like Dos Anjos, Nunes, and Roger Gracie the roster speaks for itself. Black House also has years of coaching talent in Jorge Guimaraes and it wouldn’t be a difficult task to walk into any of their training facilities and get to spar with a top level Jiu Jitsu expert or a calculating striker. Black House takes this topic.
Advantage Overall: Black House
Fans have perhaps become disappointed because they expected huge things while the Blackzilian team was still in its infancy just based on some of the stars they’ve attracted. It’s a tough thing to decide whether or not the Blackzilians have been a “disappointment” as fight teams go, especially when Black House has had nearly four-fold the amount of time to onboard, discipline, develop and search/retain talent as the Blackzilians. Because of that, one thing is certain; the Blackzilians still have time on their side. And only that will determine if the team develops a losing reputation or a legacy.
By: David ‘Doc’ Schroyer