Chris Holdsworth has never taken a vocal role in the drama between Team Alpha Male (TAM) and former teammate T.J. Dillashaw, but after seeing his name get dragged through the muck ahead of the Nov. 4 grudge match between Dillashaw and UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt at UFC 217, Holdsworth is done standing idly by while others discuss his story.
Last week, Dillashaw addressed allegations made by Garbrandt that he injured Holdsworth with a cheap shot during a TAM training session prior to Holdsworth’s successful run on The Ultimate Fighter 18. Garbrant, in a joint interview alongside TAM founder Urijah Faber, alleged that Dillashaw struck Holdsworth with an illegal knee to the head in practice that left Holdsworth with a concussion. Faber noted that the incident wasn’t isolated — it happened twice, according to Faber, who added that Dillashaw “would try to hurt people” in training sessions when he was still on the team.
Dillashaw dismissed the entire story as false.
Despite being an undefeated UFC prospect, Holdsworth ultimately took an indefinite hiatus away from MMA in 2014 due to lingering concussion-related issues. The 30-year-old jiu-jitsu ace still has yet to return, having instead transitioned into a coaching role at TAM. But after staying silent on the Dillashaw incident for more than three years after it was alleged to take place, Holdsworth finally broke his silence Monday on The MMA Hour, calling Dillashaw a liar in an explosive response.
“I’ve been quiet about this for awhile,” Holdsworth said on The MMA Hour. “I’m just not the type of person to jump into people’s feuds or drama. I like to lay low and just do my thing, but there’s been some talk, and after I heard T.J. lying about the subject, I’ve got to speak up on it.
“T.J. has always been a great fighter, he’s a great athlete, but he’s always had, I don’t know, some type of competitive feud with me ever since I came to the team. I don’t know if it was because of envy or jealousy or whatever it was, but I just kinda always brushed it off as him being competitive and being, just, ultra-aggressive. I was always up for the fight, but there was multiple occasions where T.J. got a little bit too aggressive, he went overboard in training. He’s kneeing you while we’re boxing. He’s throwing elbows while we’re doing jiu-jitsu. And I remember that instance that’s out in the public — yeah, it’s definitely true.
“I shot in on T.J. and I was on all fours, he was sprawled out and he kneed me on top of the head. And that was before The Ultimate Fighter. I remember I was kinda jarred up and everyone was watching, and I took like 30 seconds off and I kept going, I kept going through the rounds and I finished practice. But after that practice, I was concussed, and that was my first concussion. And it just kinda kept happening from there.
“There was another instance leading up to the Chico (Camus) fight (in 2014), when he was getting ready for (Renan) Barao,” Holdsworth added. “And then it comes to where I hear he’s on some special supplements and stuff, and I just lost respect for the guy. There’s no hard feelings, it’s whatever it is, but he’s a cheater.”
Holdsworth’s unprompted mention of “special supplements” is not the first time a TAM member has made thinly veiled accusations of Dillashaw using performance-enhancing drugs. Faber himself, in the lead-up to his UFC 199 fight against Dominick Cruz, infamously said that Dillashaw looked like “a prepubescent little teenager right now because USADA came in” and added “it's very obvious” when pressed on the statement.
Asked to elaborate on that train of thought on Monday, Holdsworth declined.
“You’re a smart guy, Ariel. You guys can put two and two together,” Holdsworth told host Ariel Helwani.
“It’s the truth, and I want people to know the truth. There’s no hiding from the truth in this world. And people can say one thing and they can say another, but the truth will always come out.”
As for the accusations of Dillashaw’s aggressive methods against Holdsworth in the gym, Holdsworth noted that a survey of Dillashaw’s past training partners would help tell the story of the former UFC bantamweight champion’s gym etiquette.
“He was known to do that,” Holdsworth said. “Maybe just because we were in the same divisions, I was on The Ultimate Fighter and I won, and he didn’t. I don’t know. Who knows? I think, I don’t really care. I don’t really care. I’m not trying to make it a huge thing. Like I said, I’ve moved past it, but I wanted to come on and just kinda clear the air and let everybody know my side of the story, because I’ve been pretty quiet about it for three years.
“You can talk to a lot of his training partners. It doesn’t matter if it was on purpose or if it wasn’t on purpose, there was multiple occasions where — I’m not trying to throw knees when I’m sprawled out on somebody. It’s just something we don’t do, and from what recall, he’s the type of guy, you get the better of him one day or you get the better of him for one round, he’s coming tenfold the next day. He’s there early, he’s stretching out, he watched film on you and he’s trying to figure out everything he’s gotta do to get that back on you. There was multiple occasions, and it is what it is. Like I said, I’ve moved past it and I’m happy where I’m at right now. I’m building world champions and I’m helping guys, so that’s kinda where I’m at right now.”
Holdsworth explained that he didn’t speak publicly about the incident for so long because he “didn’t want to seem like a b*tch,” but after hearing Dillashaw explain his own version of it, Holdsworth felt it worthwhile to finally tell his side of the story.
“That’s why I’ve been quiet for so long,” Holdsworth said. “I just didn’t want to seem like — but I’ve had a lot of time to think about it, and people talk about it, tell their version of the story. People who weren’t even involved tell their version of the story, so that’s why I’m kinda just speaking on it now.
“[Dillashaw] is the type of guy who was cool off the mat, but he’d try to hurt you or injure you on the mat. He wasn’t ever really a good training partner. We went hard. We probably got better going with each other, but it’s not good. It’s not good to have that many wars. You’re supposed to be helping each other.
“I heard some other interview where he was saying [my concussion problems were] from me being malnourished, and I didn’t know how to cut weight and stuff, which is false. So I’m not trying to harp and just f*cking throw him under the bus, but I’m telling the truth and I have no reason to lie. You guys can take it how you want to take it, and it’s going to be a great fight Saturday night.”