‘End of an Era’: John Danaher Announces Break-Up of Danaher Death Squad

One of the best competition teams in the history of competitive jiu-jitsu is officially no more. On Sunday, John Danaher, head coach of the legendary Danaher Death Squad, announced that the team is no longer together as a single training and competition unit. Danaher announced the news via a lengthy Instagram post.

“End of an era: It is with great sadness that I have to announce the break up of the squad as a unified training and competition team. A combination of factors revolving around disagreements in physical location of a future school, personality conflicts, conflicting values and an inevitable tension between the team brand and the growing individual brands of members were the main factors…” Danaher wrote.

At this point, it’s not entirely clear what the future holds for DDS mainstays like Garry Tonon, Craig Jones, Oliver Taza, or Ethan Crelinsten. Gordon Ryan — the squad’s most accomplished competitor — has made it clear that he won’t be leaving Danaher anytime soon.

When asked on Instagram if he’s leaving Danaher, Ryan responded “I’d never leave John unless he didn’t want me by his side.”

The Danaher Death Squad is widely credited with revolutionizing the jiu-jitsu metagame to account for a skill gap in leg locks. Squad members like Eddie Cummings, Garry Tonon, and Gordon Ryan found plenty of success on the early submission-only circuit using what is now considered the “modern” leg lock game. Recently, the squad found itself on the cutting edge of the jiu-jitsu metagame with an increased focus on wrestling — a change that Danaher himself predicted.

Stay tuned on Grappling Insider for all the fall-out from this massive news.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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