Dan Lambert – Co Founder of ATT
American Top Team co-founder Dan Lambert was shocked when he learned that Ricardo Liborio today announced his departure from the team – shocked because it’s hardly a recent development, Lambert said.
“(Liborio) left two years ago,” Lambert said. “He moved to Orlando, three hours north of here, for family issues. I made a deal with him, I said, ‘OK, I’ll keep you on the payroll. Just come down a couple days a week and train guys.’ He never came down. He got too busy up there, so I kept him on the payroll for over a year to help him out, and then earlier this year we ended it because he just hadn’t been down. But that was months and months and months ago.”
Liborio, 50, helped co-found the Florida-based American Top Team in 2001. While not always the most visible of the team’s coaches, American Top Team’s fighters have always pointed out the Carlson Gracie black belt’s value as an instructor.
However, in recent years he began to step away from the team in order to care for his daughter, Bella, who lost her sight due to a condition known as craniosynostosis. However, the team never made a formal announcement regarding Liborio’s departure.
Today, Liborio – a Brazilain native – took to social media to clarify that he was no longer part of the team while also condemning American Top Team fighter’s Colby Covington for his recent insults directed toward Brazil and its residents. While he stated that he could “not discuss at this time the reasons for my departure from ATT,” linking the announcement with his condemnation of Covington’s antics led some to believe the departure was recent, and perhaps even related, which Lambert said was certainly not the case.
In the meantime, Lambert said it’s business as usual for the powerhouse gym, which sees fighters train under instructors such as Marcus “Conan” Silveira and Mike Brown.
As for Covington, Lambert said he understands “Chaos” certainly rubbed people the wrong way but believes some reaction may be slightly overblown.
“About his fight, I thought (Covington) did very well – as well as we could have expected,” Lambert said. “He stuck to his gameplan and fought smart and beat a guy who’s, in my mind, a Hall of Famer. As far as what he said afterwards, I think I’m kind of in the middle. There’s people on the one extreme end who want him killed or fired or dragged through he streets of Rio de Janeiro and declared a racist, and then you’ve got people on the other end who think it’s hilarious and think it’s true. I’m kind of in the middle. I think it’s just a young kid trying to get his name out there and stirring the pot and playing on people’s emotions to get his name in the news.
“They’re words. Do I agree with his words? I’m never going to come out and say I agree with his words. Come on. But at the end of the day, they’e just words from some kid who’s trying to get his name out there and trying to draw some attention to himself. It is what it is. I don’t like football players kneeling on Sundays when the national anthem plays, especially on 9/11 or Veterans Day, but you know what? I’m not going to call for them to be fired or killed or anything of the like. It’s their right to say what they want to say.”
And while Liborio is no longer a part of American Top Team, Lambert said he wasn’t upset at the co-founder’s reactions to the fast-rising welterweight contender.
“I wasn’t put off by him condemning what Colby said,” Lambert said. “That’s a normal reaction for somebody to have, especially for somebody from the country. Everybody is entitled to their opinion on that.”