The B Team recently appeared on the popular Lex Fridman podcast, where Craig Jones, Nicky Ryan, and Nick Rodriguez discussed their journey. Fridman, who is known for hosting top podcasts worldwide, invited the B Team members and received an unexpected response from Gordon Ryan when he asked for questions.
Despite the rift between the two factions of the Team, Fridman maintains a friendly relationship with both and has even trained with them in the past. When he’s not hosting podcasts, Fridman works as a research scientist at MIT on human-centered artificial intelligence.
One of the biggest mysteries in the grappling community was the split of the BJJ Avengers. The team initially trained in Renzo Gracie’s blue basement, with Nick Rodriguez and Craig Jones joining later. In 2020, the team moved to Puerto Rico before splitting up and relocating to Texas.
Craig Jones on the split and what he misses about New Wave
Craig Jones was the first to address the split saying:
“I mean, I like to think of Puerto Rico as Apocalypse now.”
“I mean, it’s not really my story to tell. I had some issues with some of those people. At the time with the split, I got along very well with John (Danaher). I feel like me and him connected very well. I don’t know why that was, maybe it was just because he missed home. He missed a familiar accent, a Australian, New Zealand accent.”
“But I mean, I basically followed Nicky. Left with Nicky, sort of. That core group of guys left with Nicky”
Later Craig acknowledged there are certain parts of training with John Danaher he still misses:
” miss certain aspects of it. But I also do prefer the freedom of being apart from it. Obviously, a very strict regime under John Danaher.”
“The public doesn’t see of John.”
“I feel like he’s very conscious of the image he portrays to the world.”
“He’s always making jokes, always finding out, I guess, more in line with the Australian Kiwi sort of culture. But you don’t really see that in the public eye. So from that perspective, I do miss that relationship with John. In terms of setting aside personal differences, Gordon was a good training partner. Definitely a good training partner to train with. But obviously, the negative things we can’t really talk about, outweighed all of those things.”
Nicky Ryan about the split
Ryan was asked if there is animosity between him and Gordon Ryan in addition to if the two will ever be able to forgive each other.
“Definitely. Initially, during the initial split, we’d be definitely hated each other at the beginning. But it’s definitely started to calm down actually just prior to, you know, all this social media drama that’s going on currently.”
“He had reached out to me. And it was literally like the first time that we have actually talked since, since the split happened.”
“We didn’t talk to each other for almost two years. And that was the first time that, you know, we interacted again. And overall, you know, he wasn’t, you know, aggressive towards me. I wasn’t aggressive towards him. He retracted some jokes. So hopefully the, the animosity is going down.”
Despite all that Ryan insists: “I think it was definitely like a justifiable reason for the team splitting.”
“Like, just, with the way things were going, it just was not going to work with, you know, all of us in the same room together.”
“It started, you know, affecting training.”
“People didn’t feel comfortable and things like… so I definitely think that it was a justifiable reason to split.”
Fridman reveals what Gordon told him about talking to B Team
Fridman maintains a friendly relationship with both camps and consulted Gordon prior to the podcast:
“I’ve talked to him about talking to you guys. And he’s had nothing but really nice things to say about you Nicky Ryan, and he’s had nothing but bad things…”
B team was quick to skewer the talk to recent social drama. For that and more check out Fridman’s podcast featuring B Team.
Del Hewlett is a beats writer who has made a name for himself in the world of combat sports journalism. Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, thanks to his family’s constant traveling he has been immersed in the world of BJJ since he was a child.
After studying journalism at university, Jackson started his career as a sports writer for a local newspaper, covering everything from soccer to MMA. However, his passion for BJJ soon led him to start writing about the sport exclusively, and he quickly gained a reputation for his insightful and well-researched articles.