City Kickboxing recently won the World MMA award for Best gym despite their longtime champion Israel Adesanya losing his title.
Afterwards Adesanya opened up on a sport fatality that could’ve destroyed their whole team.
City Kickboxing is a team coached by Eugene Bareman. Bareman was on the verge of giving up the sport owing to a student’s death.
At the World MMA Awards, Bareman received the Coach of the Year honour. Adesanya accepted the award on his coach’s behalf. Adesanya discussed the influence coaches have on fighters. He related a moving tale of how Bareman almost gave up training.
“Everyone knows about Willman (Willman Rodriguez Gomez), rest in peace to my man Willman Rodriguez. He died in Eugene’s arms and Eugene was gonna like, quit the game.”
Israel Adesanya went on to claim that Eugene Bareman’s coach persuaded him to go on playing the sport. Bareman’s students will be competing nevertheless, therefore it made sense for the coach to continue to take care of them.
Adesanya said, “His (Bareman’s) coach was the one that was like ‘well these boys are still gonna fight, is there anyone else you can trust to look after them other than yourself?’ And he was just like, boom lightbulb, paradigm shift.”
Willman Rodriguez Gomez passed away in 2012 just 32 seconds into his professional boxing debut.
Shortly after the match, the 29-year-old boxer was taken to the Tahiti hospital, but he tragically passed away there.
While Adesanya refuted the stoppage during his title loss at UFC 281, his coach Eugene Bareman was ok with it.
During a talk with Combat TV, Bareman said that he was relieved that the action was stopped sooner.
“I can’t sit here and truthfully say that was an early stoppage. I’m happy with the stoppage personally. I thought Israel was in trouble. Of all my experience that I’ve had in the sport, I saw some signs that he was in trouble.”