The breakup of the Danaher Death Squad has been something of a mystery with all of the competitors involved having kept pretty quiet about the reasons behind their split, until Nicky Rodriguez that is. Ever since John Danaher first announced the infamous squad’s demise, fans have been wondering why the team were parting ways and things only got more confusing when it was revealed that a fairly big chunk of the team were actually staying together and moving to Austin, Texas to open up B-Team Jiu-Jitsu.
Things only got more confusing when it was revealed that Gordon Ryan was also moving to Austin with Garry Tonon and John Danaher to open up their own gym too. Since then, there’s been no real explanation as to why the team appears to have split right down the middle and since both halves of their former team have already started training and teaching in Austin, it didn’t seem like any explanation was likely either. Then, Nicky Rodriguez made an appearance on the Jason Chambers podcast and when he was asked about the breakup of the team he gave more of an insight than any of his former teammates have yet:
“There was some issues within the team. Certain people had certain issues with, really, one person… You got to cut the poison out. Whatever is hurting the team or hurting the majority of the people you have to eliminate that and focus on competition. At B-Team, we’re focused on getting better, and that’s all we’re focused on… We’re doing our best to keep out distractions and all the negativity. That’s our reason for doing our own thing.”
While he stopped short of outright naming anyone, it seems obvious to anyone with a passing knowledge of his former teammates who he would be referring to. He then went on to make the implication overtly clear when he was asked about why Nicky Ryan had moved to B-Team Jiu-Jitsu with him instead of staying with his older brother Gordon:
“We cut the poison out for a reason. Nicky is a smart, intelligent, young kid, has the whole world ahead of him. And we want to our best to keep that kid leveled and headed towards the right direction.”
Nicky Rodriguez also felt comfortable enough after the breakup to give his opinion on Gordon Ryan’s decision to take an indefinite hiatus from competing in light of recent stomach issues:
“If you ask me, Gordon’s always been fine to compete. When shit gets tough, some people go harder, and some people quit. Not everybody can deal with having hard practices. I’ll just leave it at that.”
As Rodriguez is of a similar size to Ryan, naturally there were questions surrounding how he would feel about potentially competing against a former teammate. According to him, not only would it not be a problem at all but it’s actually a challenge that he looks forward to facing head on and it seems like there’s no love lost between them:
“I definitely see it being more of a competitive atmosphere, I don’t think we’ll be working together too much…
“We’ll likely compete against each other at ADCC. I’m going heavyweight, I’m sure [Ryan will] go heavyweight, as well. So more than likely I’ll see him in competition before I see him on the practice mats.
“I think it puts a lot of pressure on the B-Team. You have the GOAT in Gordon competing against a guy that’s been under him for the past three years… I’d be lying if I said that every day since I started jiu-jitsu my goal is to beat Gordon. I’d be lying if I was saying that isn’t true… My goal is to be the best grappler in the world and nothing less. That’s an old teammate that I have to go through to knock him out and get to the top, then that’s fine with me.”
Nicky Rodriguez gave the explosive insights into the breakup of the Danaher Death Squad on a recent appearance on the Jason Chambers podcast, hosted by the MMA veteran and regular commentator: