TJ Grant’s Coach Scott MacLean Questions UFC’s Decision to Cut Lightweight From Rankings
By Kelsey Mowatt
UFC lightweight contender TJ Grant has been in the news this week, and his long time coach Scott MacLean isn’t happy about the reason why. On Tuesday, the UFC’s latest rankings were released, and both Nate Diaz and Grant had been removed from the promotion’s top 15.
Diaz’s removal comes at a time when he’s been openingly critical of his current UFC deal, and the promotion released a statement saying the fighter’s refusal to accept bouts, was the reason for him being dropped.
In the case of Grant, the fighter’s inactivity is apparently behind his removal. Due to a serious concussion the Nova Scotia fighter incurred last year, Grant hasn’t fought now since May 25th, 2013, when he stopped Gray Maynard.
“I don’t think it matters in the long run regardless, but it seems a little silly, a little premature on their part,” MacLean said while taping a segment for Full Contact Fighter Radio. “If he was refusing fights and healthy, well, then that’s up to them. But that’s not the case, they know the difference.”
MacLean made the comments prior to the latest edition of “UFC Tonight”, where UFC President Dana White relayed the following:
“Everyone is talking about Nate Diaz being removed and so has TJ Grant, for inactivity,” White told the FOX Sports 1 program. “Early on we let Dominick Cruz hold the title for as long as we did. But it’s unfair for the guys who are staying active. When you have a guy like TJ Grant and they have an injury, that’s pretty serious so they get dropped, but when they come back, they’ll get added back. The same for Diaz – he’s not taking any fights and we’re not sure when he will. When he comes back, he’ll be ranked again.”
White’s comments may have been intended to diminish the ire of Diaz and Grant supporters, but other fighters who have not competed for longer periods, remain ranked.
“I would question the UFC’s decision again as Dominick Cruz is still ranked at #9 and Cat Zingano at #1,” said MacLean, when contacted by Full Contact Fighter for a follow up comment. “I am sure there are others. In the long run I doubt it will make much difference, but that’s not the point.”
“For me sometimes things are a little bit more about principle,” the Fit Plus coach noted earlier on Wednesday. “The principle of knocking him off the rankings. It’s completely fine if they follow suit in everybody who hasn’t fought in eleven months and two weeks, and whatever days, whatever it happens to be, if they’re bumped from the rankings, but if not, then you know what’s the reasoning behind it? If it’s just due to inactivity, cool, then they’re going to have to do that for everybody.”
Of course, it wasn’t that long ago that the UFC tapped Grant for a title shot, thanks to the veteran’s five fight winning streak. But, due to ongoing side effects from a concussion he incurred not long after fighting Maynard, Grant had to pass on the opportunities. While MacLean isn’t happy about Grant’s sudden removal from the top ten rankings, his main concern is that the lightweight returns to a high profile bout.
“It’s what he’s earned, it’s not just what I want, because I want him to fight for that title, but that may not happen on his first fight back, it won’t happen in his first fight back,” argued MacLean. “He’s earned the right.”