American Kickboxing Academy has received frequent criticism for the injury rate suffered by its fighters.
However, the numbers tell a more nuanced story.
In 2014, Last Word on Sports calculated AKA as only the ninth worst of the super teams in MMA. Roufusport, Nova Uniao, Blackzilians, Tri-Star, Black House, Jackson/Wink, and ATT all had higher injury rates. Only Team Alpha Male has a lower rate.
In 2015, LWoS updated the list, and AKA was fourth, Serra-Longo, Nova Uniao, and Roufusport all having higher injury rates, although Serra-Longo was perhaps skewed by the four injuries suffered by Chris Weidman.
Still, both years Nova Uniao and RoufusSport took the top two spots, and should presumably be singled out, if any team is.
Injuries happen in MMA at a higher frequency than they do in boxing. In January former UFC heavyweight champion and AKA team member Cain Velasquez dropped out of his UFC 196 fight with Fabricio Werdum with a back injury. Most recently UFC interim light heavyweight champion and AKA team member Daniel Cormier dropped out of his fight vs. Jon Jones at UFC 198.
At a recent UFC 199 media day, AKA’s Luke Rockhold defended his team.
“People want to talk about our camp,” said Rockhold, as transcribed by Dave Doyle for MMA Fighting. “You guys, we have the top camp in the world. We have all the best guys. So if anybody gets hurt, people get hurt in every other situation, but they’re not all from one big camp, like ours.”
“DC’s never missed a fight. I’ve barely ever missed a fight. When have I ever had to pull out of a fight? Whether I’m injured or not I still make the fight and I’m still winning, and doing what I have to do.”
“Cain gets some injuries, but people are fighting. We just come from the top camp in the world with a lot of top names and there’s a lot of focus. Any time anyone gets hurt, people want to point the finger. But the thing is, we have the best camp in the world and there’s a reason why that’s happening.
“Injuries happen, we have a high level of competition at the gym. But we’re family and people aren’t trying to hurt each other. From time to time, things happen. I don’t believe we have a big problem with injuries. I know myself, I know DC, I know a lot of these guys and a couple injuries plague you, but the rest of us have been pretty healthy.”
And Sunday night FloCombat reported the AKA fighter Josh Thompson was out his fight with Michael Chandler at Bellator 154 on May 14.
Luke Rockhold defends his title vs. Chris Weidman at UFC 199: Rockhold vs. Weidman 2 on June 4, 2016 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.