Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
This past weekend, Joaquin Buckley won a split decision over Abdul Razak Alhassan at UFC Vegas 48. But though the win was Buckley’s second in a row, and fourth inside the UFC overall, the talk surrounding the event was not on the fight itself, but on Buckley’s third cornerman: Viral sensation Commander Dale Brown.
Brown is the founder of Detroit Urban Survival Training, or D.U.S.T, which is, according to their website, a “preventative threat management training system” designed to “create de-escalation through non-adversarial interactions and non-violent outcomes.” In recent months, Brown and D.U.S.T. have become viral sensations for videos showing self-defense tips that have engendered mockery and criticism.
Buckley himself first went to Brown’s school to test the validity of Brown’s methods, and speaking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Brown recounted how he became acquainted with Buckley and what led to his cornering the UFC fighter this past weekend.
“He came to my school — you can see the videos online — and he came to test the training,” Brown said. “He did not come to hang out, he came to test it and there was no discussion other than, ‘Hey, I’m gonna come by and see if the training is real.’ So he did, came by, and felt that the training was real. Halfway through, he said, ‘You know what, wow, I didn’t realize this training was real.’ Then after that, two weeks later — it wasn’t immediate — he called back and asked if I’d be willing to be a cornerman and share knowledge and bring what we have to the table to assist. And I absolutely did.”
After training with him, Buckley vouched for the validity of Brown’s techniques but admitted that having Brown be part of his corner was primarily a promotional stunt to garner interest. But even though most of Brown’s methods weren’t relevant in the fight — something Brown agrees with — the D.U.S.T. Commander believes that Buckley still benefited from their work together.
“Most of my training you can’t use, obviously, in the sport, but there’s some aspects of it, some techniques, some small things that we shared,” Brown said. “And there’s also psychology. A huge part of our performance is based on psychology. Survival psychology is really important in any endeavor. So he was able to get exposed to our survival psychology in that setting and I think that’s really helpful, especially in that fight he was just in. It was extremely important psychologically to be prepared for that extreme fight he was in. It was extraordinary and he pulled through.”
Indeed, Buckley did, and now, like Steven Seagal before him, Brown finds himself 1-0 as an MMA cornerman. And if Buckley wants to run it back in the future, Brown says he’d be more than happy to do it given how welcoming everyone was his first time around.
“Sure, if he wants me to,” Brown said. “Absolutely, I would do that for him.
“It was an amazing experience. Super positive. All the fighters were extremely, extremely professional and very welcoming.”
Perhaps we haven’t seen the last of Commander Brown and D.U.S.T. inside the UFC.