Former three-time Olympian Kenny Monday is no longer the wrestling coach of the Blackzilians. The Gold medalist tells Cagewriter that today he was let go by the South Florida mega MMA team where he's coached the likes of Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort and Eddie Alvarez for a year.
"It wasn't my decision, it was [Blackzilians manager] Glenn Robinson's decision," Monday revealed.
Monday left his top NCAA wrestling program at Oklahoma State a year ago after being recruited by Robinson and Evans, he says. At the time, he signed a three-year contract to coach The Blackzilians team in wrestling.
"I was blindsided by [the release]. I really don't know what his reason is. I don't know if they are struggling financially, or what it is. I'm not sure what's going on here. He wasn't man enough to come talk to me himself. Life goes on," he says.
Moving from his family from their home in Oklahoma to coach MMA full-time in Florida was a heart-wrenching decision for Monday but he felt it was the right one to make at the time. Just minutes after getting his walking papers, the coach was clearly still in shock but had nothing but positive things to say about his fighters.
"I was at practice today. We had practice today. I got to talk to just a couple fighters but not most of them. My guys are unbelievable. They work hard and respond well to coaching. We've done well. The team has gotten better. Just look at our performances. From Vitor, to Rashad, to Abel Trujilo, to Eddie Alvarez. I'm not sure what the issue is. I'm sure a lot of fighters don't know yet. I was at practice today. I got to talk to just a couple fighters but not most of them, yet. I don't know, I guess it's breaking news. I have nothing to hide. I gave my heart to this program. I uprooted my family for this from Oklahoma and moved to Florida for this. It was one of the toughest decisions I've made," he says.
"At Oklahoma State, we came close to winning the national title. I had a great relationship with the team. Those guys were broken-hearted when I left. I'm sure these guys will be, too. Those guys back in Oklahoma didn't want me to leave, I made that decision. This wasn't my decision. I was loving it here. I felt like the team was getting better and that I was getting better as a coach. I'd been there for a year. Everyone I've talked to around the world had good things to say. I spoke with Jon Jones and he told me, 'You're doing an unbelievable job. I can see the difference in the way your guys fight.' The world took notice. It is disappointing. It just goes to show you that you never know. I don't know Glenn Robinson well."
It is too early for Monday to know what he'll do next, but he expects to have options. In June, he will have his promoter's hat on as his MMA promotion, Battlegrounds holds an 8-man single night tournament in Oklahoma.
"I don't know. I don't know what I'm going to do next," he says.
"I'm just going to weigh my options. We'll just see. I'm not for sure, yet. I always get offers. I get offers all the time to coach wrestling and MMA. I get offers. I'll see what's available. I love the sport. I think I've gotten a lot better as far as how to teach wrestling for the fight - MMA wrestling. I'm growing in that capacity. I'm not done."