We get calls and we don’t hesitate. This is how Karl went from an unknown to fighting Jerome Lebanner in a castle on hill in France, to Glory Kickboxing, and now the UFC. How does a kid from Neptune, NJ, who could have easily went down a wrong path, end up in the largest Combat Sports League in the world? He did the work.
As a coach, you get 1, maybe 2 opportunities to work with a person like Karl. No disrespect to anyone I have worked with over the past 20 years. It is just that Karl has something special and we came together at the right time in my career as well. As a coach, I matured. 10 years ago I would have ruined a prospect like Karl because I was missing some things, like gratitude and value.
I really do get that Karl does the work. What my influence is can’t really be evaluated. I don’t care what any coach says, it is hard to figure out what is natural talent and what is our influence. If you try to take credit for your athlete’s performance, you are misguided. I am not trying to minimize the role of a coach here either. We are a necessary part of the equation but the equation is dominated by the athlete, their ability to perform, and their individual choices on a daily basis.
We that assume the role of coach; 1st, we need to have knowledge and experience. Once we have acquired these things, we need to figure out how to effectively translate our information in a way that will maximize the athlete’s opportunities. It is never about us, it is about the value we can provide. If you do not have the humility to lead, your arrogance will be your downfall and the reason people get hurt. Combat Sports is a hurting business, you don’t cost people simply money or time when you make a mistake, you break people.
I stress the value of work. I say it all the time, stop wishing and get to work! The key is doing the right work with the right people. I do everything I can and send Karl, plus anyone else who I train, to go work with those that have the skills I don’t, or don’t have the same ability to translate effectively for the athlete. Again, my job is to get a person prepared, not protect my ego or my name. Karl did the right work with the right people. The UFC and The UFC Performance Institute, Bulldogs and Barbells, Nick Catone and NCMMA, James Meals and Driven Gym, Corey Anderson, Ricardo Almeida, Mark Henry – the all gave us a place, the people, and the influence to get what was needed. Killer B is our gym and the base for our team but all those mentioned and probably people I am forgetting, all make up Team Baby K.
Headed to Virginia to be in the corner for Karl Roberson is a dream for any coach. Not many of us have taken a person from beginning of their career to a level like the UFC. Most coaches pick up people well into a career. There is something special and satisfying being there from the start. Karl never wavered in his belief in what I had to offer and I never doubted his ability. I don’t think he has even come close to his real potential yet, and that is kind of scary. The best relationships are based on a mutually beneficial trade, and I truly feel that Karl and I have that going for us.
UFC Fight pass 6:30 pm Saturday Nov 11th, witness the beginning of Karl’s career with the UFC.