A week before his UFC 107 return against Stefan Struve, Paul Buentello finds himself kicked out of the American Kickboxing Academy, a camp he’s been with since his pro fight career started in 2000. The reason? Buentello decided he wanted a different manager than ‘Crazy’ Bob Cook, who also happens to be one of AKA’s main trainers.
“We all were in the sport when it was nothing. We were in bathrooms for locker rooms, you know what I mean?” he said. “Now that the sport’s blown up, its kind of hard feelings to say, ‘Hey you can’t train here anymore because I’m not managing you.’”
Both agree AKA’s doors closing to the former King of the Cage Heavyweight Champion has negatively impacted his training camp. Without the luxury of training in one place, Buentello has made treks to Sacramento—two hours away—and gets little rest because of the added commute and the crowding it creates in his schedule.
AKA isn’t out of Buentello’s life yet though. AKA fighter Mike Kyle has come to Nor Cal Fight Factory to spar. Bobby Southworth, too, demonstrated support, but cannot spar due to the recent birth of his child. Velasquez also brought in another AKA exile, Matt Major, to train with Buentello.
“I’ve been there a long time,” said Buentello. “That’s my home. It sucks, it sucks, it sucks that I can’t go home for a little bit.”
According to Buentello in a Sherdog interview, there’s been issues with Cook since Cook (a former Strikeforce matchmaker) pushed Buentello towards Strikeforce but Paul ended up going with the UFC instead. At the time Paul said any hard feelings would all pan out, but I guess that’s not the case. But seriously, who boots a guy out of their camp a few weeks before one of the most important fights of their career? That’s just doggish, regardless of the justifications.