Image source: John Kavanagh Instagram (@coach_kavanagh)
SBG founder and head coach to Conor McGregor, John Kavanagh, raised a few eyebrows in an interview with The Mac Life. In the interview Kavanagh stated that the training camp was more about the coaching staff getting out of McGregor’s way as he knew more about fighting than the whole coaching staff put together.
“With Conor’s fighting IQ, with Conor’s understanding of the game, really, this training camp is about all of us getting out of his way. Provide him an environment where he gets different looks, different feels, and support him. Where he wants the training camp to go, with intensities, and listening to him, where he has days where he wants to push hard, and days where he wants to slow down.
It’s not so much about us coaches sitting down to game plan and then filling Conor in. Conor knows more about fighting than the rest of us put together.”
These comments raised eyebrows within the MMA community as Kavanagh gave the impression that McGregor was in complete control over his own camp. Former middleweight champion, Michael Bisping, voiced his concerns on this as well via his Believe You Me podcast.
“That one there at the end could be potentially dangerous. I’m not saying it is. As I just said McGregor’s under pressure, McGregor’s training hard. He’s doing everything he can to win this fight. But as we just said money changes everything and now his coaches are saying he knows more about MMA than everybody put together so therefore we’re allowing him to run the show. Which I don’t doubt is true. I don’t doubt that it’s true.”
However, Kavanagh has now clarified his comments on the training setup at SBG via the Eurobash podcast, stating that the SBG coaching staff are still planning and carrying out all of the sessions in camp. Kavanagh clarified that his comments were more on the site of the game planning and that McGregor has a better understanding of what shots will work in the fight than the coaching staff. Therefore, McGregor can relay that information back to the team who can then plan a schedule around it.
“We, of course, set out the training schedule and what each day will be. I meant more that Conor has an ability to see what shots are going to land better than me or better than anybody else I’ve ever seen. If he can see what shots are going to land and communicate that to us, then we can make sure they’re part of the pad session for example and that I can inform the sparring partners that these are some of the looks we want to see. It’s not like every Monday he sends me the seven-day schedule and says, ‘Okay, on Wednesday we’re going to sun seven and on Thursday night…’, it’s me and the team setting out the schedule. I meant that his fight IQ will be able to let him see things in the fight.”