In the past few days that the combat sports community has known about the tragic death of Coach Robert Follis, numerous mixed martial artists have written emotional posts about his passing, which has recently been ruled a suicide.
But one man who isn’t simply going to shed tears on Twitter for Coach Follis is Legacy Fighting Light Heavyweight Champion and ADCC Champion Robert Drysdale.
In a long Facebook post, Drysdale called out the martial arts community, saying they should have been more “present” for the late coach.
i hope this doesnt sound too harsh. But this is how i feel about it. I had my disagreements with follis, professionally and technically. But beyond that, i always respected him. It was clear that he was a passionate coach that put his heart and soul into improving on his students. Coaching was his life and identity. Thats who he was and he was good and caring coach. Lamenting his death is pointless. We should have all been more present for him when he was amongst us. A better attitude is to ask ourselves, those who knew him and could have done something to prevent this tragedy, what we could have done differently (myself included)
Drysdale goes on to describe coaching as a “sh*t job” which frequently involves putting one’s family “on the back-burner.” Worst still, students, according to Robert, frequently don’t appreciate the hard work coaches put in.
Coaching is a sh*t job. Students are often ungrateful, entitled and believe they are doing you a favor by asking you to corner or coach them or by showing up at your gym to train. They fail to see that we often put our own lives and families in the back-burner to help advance the career of people who seldom feel like paying a coach is necessary or to show a minimal level of appreciation for dedicating our lives for their betterment.
Drysdale even seems to suggest this “frustration” was the reason Follis decided to cut his life short.
It was his way of saying “im tired, im done, im out”. For the same reason i ceased from coaching mma and for the same reason i have often thought about quitting jj altogether.
The Legacy Fighting Champion, however, wasn’t simply here to make people feel bad about themselves. Instead, he called for change:
Instead of lamenting what cant be changed, perhaps the martial arts community should pay a little more attention to those who sacrifice their time and energy for the betterment of their students. The people who teach you deserve better.
What do you think of Robert Drysdale’s post? Does the martial arts community do too little for its coaches?
Sound off below or in this article’s Facebook thread.
You can read Robert Drysdale’s entire post about Robert Follis below: