With Conor McGregor and Urijah Faber coaching opposite each other on the 22nd installment of The Ultimate Fighter, an exchange between the two in its aftermath seemed almost prophetic to fans.
During an appearance at the FOX Sports studios in early September, McGregor told Faber that his teammate and current bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw was a disloyal "snake in the grass," and that he should have never brought him in to Team Alpha Male.
"He is a twerp," McGregor said. "You shouldn’t let him into your sh*t, because he is a snake in the grass and I told you that to your face. You brought him into TUF thinking he would help you. He was there to help him. He’s a snake in the grass and you need to figure that out."
This past week, Dillashaw made the decision to leave Team Alpha Male for the Elevation Fight Team in Denver, Colorado. This news, became a sort of confirmation in some people’s eyes that Dillashaw was exactly what the Irishman said he was.
On Monday, during an appearance on The MMA Hour, Dillashaw fired back at McGregor and those criticizing him for making a "business decision" to better his career.
"Yeah, pretty crazy," he said. "It was just timing…timing’s everything I guess on that, and it all happened at the time when Conor called us out. It’s actually kind of ridiculous for him to call me a ‘snake’ or a ‘traitor,’ when the fact is I made a business decision. I feel like that’s…that’s like Conor saying it’s making business decisions, it’s all about business, it’s the fight business.
"I’m getting told I’m a snake because I make a business decision for my career. That’s just pretty hypocritical, it’s very hypocritical to me when other people believe what he says."
Dillashaw was en-route to Colorado on Monday to find a house that he can lease for the next year, to set himself up to join the Elevation Fight Team full-time. By living in Colorado, he’ll also be reunited with former TAM coach, Duane Ludwig, who runs a gym a half-an-hour from the EFT facility. Dillashaw said one of the big reasons for the switch was that TAM didn’t have coaches. He and Ludwig formed a bond that ultimately aided in his decision to move.
Dillashaw also pointed out the double standard in play for McGregor to make the ‘snake in the grass’ claim to begin with.
"If I’m a traitor, I feel like [McGregor]’s an even bigger traitor to his country," he said. "He went to Ireland, and he’s a big country man, and then he lives in the United States now. He moved to Las Vegas. Why? It’s better for his career. It’s business. And so, I put it so everyone understands, I’m just trying to stay on top and I want to become the best MMA fighter possible and I need coaches to do so. Right now in Sacramento, I’m teaching kickboxing classes, Martin Kampmann’s moving home. He was a great mitt-man and a boxing coach, but he’s a boxing coach. We have to coach each other at Team Alpha Male right now, and that’s a big problem for me."
Dillashaw, who has endured a deluge of criticism since making the announcement, said he is coming to grips with the hate.
"Ultimately, it was a business decision," he said. "I’m going to have these haters out there, but haters are gonna hate."