RIP Coach Follis

Hearing online that Coach Robert Follis has passed.


Note from Dewey Cooper:




Hope it wasn't turmoil from leaving Xtreme Couture that caused this.







Dewey’s post made it seem like suicide. RIP coach 

Wow, this is awful if true. RIP Coach.


in shock

Oh, man. Sorry to hear this.

I always found him to be a very nice guy. Condolences to his family and friends.

The Quiet Genius of Robert Follis

LAS VEGAS -- Robert Follis, one of the more respected trainers in mixed martial arts, compares training a fighter to enjoying a breakfast of cinnamon rolls on a Sunday morning.

Follis, one of the lead trainers at Xtreme Couture and a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, teaches classes in the discipline to established Ultimate Fighting Championship stars and anyone who walks in off the street wanting to learn the Gentile Art. However, Follis does not consider BJJ his forte and does not just focus on that aspect of the game to get his fighters ready to square off in the cage.

“I don’t think BJJ is my specialty; MMA is my specialty,” Follis told following a September workout with Danny Davis Jr. and Bristol Marunde. “I happen to be a very good BJJ practitioner. I have my black belt and I’ve grappled for many years with it, but I’ve been wrestling and I’ve been working on striking for the same amount of time. I happen to teach BJJ more here than the striking portion of teaching.

“In team, I work with all my fighters on their striking, integrating it into their game. There is an old saying that it’s the space between the notes that makes the music, and that is one of my favorite sayings,” he added. “I see a lot of people who still train in compartmentalized fashion. They do BJJ one day, work with this guy doing kickboxing, they go over here and do wrestling, have a strength and conditioning coach over here, and most coaches might meet up on fight day.”

Those fighters win or lose in spite of the training, Follis said, adding that fans of the sport are starting to see a trend of more MMA coaches blending wrestling, striking and traditional martial arts in their training sessions. While Follis might have a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, he is also well-respected for training his fighters to improve their striking and wrestling -- but what does all that have do with cinnamon rolls?

“[Imagine] if I invited you over on Sunday morning for homemade cinnamon rolls, and you don’t smell any cinnamon rolls,” Follis said. “I tell you they are on the table. You walk over, and there is a bowl of flour, bowl of butter, bowl of cinnamon and a bowl of sugar. I tell you to dig in, and you go, ‘Whoa! A cinnamon roll is not just a bunch of ingredients. It’s how you mix and prepare them that make them a cinnamon roll. It’s what makes them delicious.’

“MMA is the same thing. A lot of people get confused by specialty, and they don’t think of someone as a MMA coach because at the very beginning, everyone started out with a specialty,” he added. “But, it has kind of come on at a time where we were mixing martial arts. I can separate and teach BJJ for the sport, but I really feel like where I’ve been world-class is in how that gets mixed out and orchestrated together rather than as separate pieces.”

Finding Inspiration

Follis, who turns 46 in November, knows all aspects of the sport well. He has been involved with MMA since he was in his early 20s. He was a bartender who was also working security at some pretty active fight bars in Oregon.

“I didn’t want to get my ass beat at work,” Follis said, “so I started training.”

Around that same time, the Ultimate Fighting Championship debuted. Follis watched UFC 1 with some friends and fell in love with the sport, especially with how eventual UFC 1 winner Royce Gracie was winning his fights.

“We were jumping up and down and couldn’t believe this skinny Brazilian was whipping these guys,” Follis said. “It was enthralling. I grew up with boxing, and every now and then you’d see these karate, kickboxing-type matches, but muay Thai wasn’t the norm in America at that point. Really, you’d watch boxing as a combative sport, but watching takedowns and armbars was unheard of. I remember when Royce finished [Jason DeLucia] with an armbar [at UFC 2]. We were all jumping up and celebrating, but we were like, ‘What did he do?’ No one even knew what an armbar was back then.”

Follis and his friend, Shawn Gregory, began training in Gregory’s garage, as often as their bodies would allow them to train on carpet or concrete. Follis and Gregory eventually found a gym that taught jiu-jitsu, kickboxing and other self-defense fighting disciplines. After a few years of training, Follis answered a call from future UFC hall of famer Randy Couture for sparring partners with kickboxing experience who could also execute takedowns. Couture was preparing to fight Maurice Smith for the heavyweight title at UFC 15.5. Couture won the fight, and he continued to work with Follis.

“Then, things just led to another,” Follis said. “Randy and Dan [Henderson] opened up Team Quest, and they asked me to come on board.”

Long Road Back

After a long career training many of the legends of the sport, Follis has not quite achieved the same level of fame as trainers such as Greg Jackson or Firas Zahabi, but that does not seem to affect him. He knows what he has done throughout his storied career and is at peace with himself.

His MMA training helped him through some dark times in his 20s. Follis eventually left Team Quest after 10 years because all the training and travel had taken a toll on him. He stepped back, taking some time off to enjoy life again. Part of that included moving to Las Vegas, where he trained military, police and casino security units, but the lure of MMA training was still there. Dennis Davis -- a fighter he had worked with for years in Oregon -- was now coaching at Xtreme Couture and kept asking Follis to come on board and coach again.

“Finally, I said let’s see what we can do and have a little fun,” Follis said. “It wasn’t a plan of mine to be here, but it has turned out phenomenal for me. I’ve had a ton of fun helping out, revitalizing the team and working with Randy again. With our background and as far back as it goes, it has been a really good experience.”

Follis was instrumental in helping to reshape the team at Xtreme Couture, which had started to flounder after Couture retired and other gyms opened up offering to train fighters for free.

“Vegas is a really interesting place, and fighters here have a tendency to bounce around to whatever is new and hot,” he said. “People invite them in and give them this for free, and then after a while, they want you to pay. In Oregon, we had a team, and everyone trained there. It wasn’t like here where they train at seven different gyms. Guys just kind of bounced around, and it wasn’t because there weren’t good things going on here. I really think it was more of the fabric and vibe of Vegas at the time. What happened here was twofold. I get a lot of credit for what has happened to the team here, which I appreciate and I feel I had a lot to do with it, but it was a huge team effort.”

This is terrible news. Class act through and through and one of the greatest minds in this sport’s history.

Hoping upon all hope this is not true.  I knew Robert and he's an absolutely tremendous indivdual.   Please do not be true.  Please.  


damn, RIP

Depression is no joke :(