For ex-Xtreme Couture head-trainer and now current TapouT head coach, Shawn Tompkins, it is a small MMA world. At upcoming UFC 109, two living legends on the active roster, Randy Couture and Mark Coleman will square off as headliners at an event that finds Shawn Tompkins on the opposite end of the Couture corner for the first time in his career.
Training his former boss’ next opponent months after his departure could have the makings of an awkward reunion, but the distinguished mixed martial arts instructor claims it is the exact opposite.
“It’s just business,” Tompkins told Fanhouse. “Anyone who’s ever spoken to Randy, as far as competition, that’s how he feels, too.
“For Randy, it’s about the fight, not the drama,” Tompkins continued. “He’s real cool about it. We talked about it. I let his camp know first. I started working with Mark for the Stephan Bonnar fight [at UFC 100]. I have my own team now, and this is how I make my living and how my family survives, so if Mark Coleman comes to me and asks me to coach him in a matchup against another UFC Hall of Famer, I’m going to say yes. It’s nothing personal. It should happen for the sport and the fans, and when it’s all said and done, Randy and I will still be friends, and I’ll still respect him for everything he’s done for me.”
Tompkins left Xtreme Couture last October on mutual terms to pursue a chance to establish his own team of fighters. He now has a line-up of 20 professional fighters including; undefeated Evan Dunham, WEC prospect Chris Horodecki, Ultimate Fighter alumni Junie Browning, Mark “The Hammer” Coleman, to name a few. Getting the chance to command his own platoon of athletes was an obstacle at the Las Vegas based Xtreme Couture that led to Tompkins’ exit.
“One thing that didn’t really work well for me at Xtreme Couture was every fighter having their own staffs,” he said. “If you’re going to take this sport seriously, that doesn’t seem to work out too well. I’ve always had my own thoughts on the best way to do it. Now these fighters that are training with me at TapouT are with me specifically as a part of Team Tompkins. What it comes down to is we get to coordinate and make sure they get what’s best for them.”
After Coleman’s fight with Couture, Tompkins will get to coordinate a game plan for his top fighter, UFC No. 1 middleweight contender, Vitor Belfort. The Brazilian “Phenom” steps in the octagon against pound-for-pound maestro Anderson Silva in April at UFC 112.