UFC: Leon Edwards’s gym responds to Ian Machado Garry’s ‘insecurity’ claim

Exclusive: Team Renegade has issued a statement, after Machado Garry told The Independent that he had been asked not to return to the welterweight champion’s gym

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Tuesday 31 October 2023 14:50 GMT
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Team Renegade, where UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards trains, has told The Independent that Ian Machado Garry was ‘refused entrance’ to the gym because he did not ‘add to the team’s culture’.

The gym’s statement comes after Machado Garry told The Independent last week that he was not allowed back at Team Renegade, where he recently trained with Edwards, due to ‘doubts and insecurities’ in the welterweight champion and his coach.

Team Renegade said: “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. This has nothing to do with one specific fighter or a specific coach.”

Machado Garry, who has trained at numerous gyms in various countries in recent times, is ranked 10th at welterweight in the UFC. The Irishman is unbeaten and will fight former teammate Vicente Luque at UFC 296 on 16 December – on the undercard of Edwards’s title defence against Colby Covington.

Machado Garry, who turns 26 in November, said in an interview with The Independent on Friday (27 October): “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.’

Leon Edwards after retaining the UFC welterweight title against Kamaru Usman in March

“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.’”

Edwards won the welterweight title in August 2022 with a stunning head-kick knockout of Kamaru Usman, who had beaten the Jamaican-born Briton on points in 2015. Edwards, 32, then retained the title against Usman in a trilogy bout at UFC 286 in March. Edwards was a decision winner against the Nigerian-American in London.

The Independent’s full interview with Machado Garry will be available to read later this week.

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