- Brett Okamoto, ESPN Staff Writer
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Melvin Guillard says he never tried to keep secret the fact he was charged with multiple counts of assault in New Mexico in 2010.
Guillard is scheduled for a court date to resolve the issue on May 23, but the news had not been widely reported until last month, when an unnamed source at Guillard's former camp, Greg Jackson's MMA, revealed the charges to MMAjunkie.com.
The UFC lightweight admits he was surprised when the charges recently came to light, due to the time that has passed. In the same report, Guillard learned he wasn't welcome back at the facility in Albuquerque to train for an upcoming fight after spending the past two years with the Blackzilians team in South Florida.
"That was never hidden," Guillard told ESPN.com. "That was an incident that happened when I first got to Jackson's. To put it all out there, I'm fighting charges because I was jumped by a general manager and five security guards.
"My hands never touched anybody. There were five fans that I bought drinks for and when they saw me get jumped, they commenced to jump on the security. That's as far as I'm going to get into this. I shouldn't even be saying that much."
Guillard says he is still on good terms with members of Greg Jackson's camp and the Blackzilians. He admitted, though, he was caught off guard by the report on his legal matters.
"It's weird because that happened in early 2010 and now all of a sudden when I try to go back to Jackson's, somebody leaks out that I'm fighting assault charges," Guillard said. "I'm like, 'Wow. It's 2013.'"
The UFC veteran says he has a good attorney representing him and the issue is "all behind me." His focus now rests on a recently announced bout against Mac Danzig at a UFC on Fox event on July 27.
Guillard (30-12-2) has relocated to the Grudge Training Cener in Denver, Colo. to prepare for the bout. He's working primarily with trainers Trevor Wittman, Leister Bowling and UFC heavyweight Pat Barry.
Blackzilians manager Glenn Robinson continues to oversee Guillard's career, despite his move from the team. Guillard said a difference in mental approaches between him and the camp was the main reason for the split.
"I still love all those guys," Guillard said. "I just do think a little bit different with my training. After I do a three-month camp, I'm one of those guys who like to kick back and relax. I feel like they're building an NFL-style team. I'm just not one of those guys. I'm not big on rules when it comes to fighting because I've been doing this for 17 years. I don't want to spend my whole life in the gym."
Guillard's initial plan was to return to Jackson, which has produced good results in the past. He tweeted on March 24 his intent to reunite with the team, only to find out from Internet posts he was no longer welcome.
Long story short, Guillard takes responsibility for the team's decision, citing the timing of his move to the Blackzilians in late 2011.
While he says he didn't intend for it to come across this way, it might have appeared he sided with a rival camp. Blackzilians teammate Rashad Evans was fighting Jackson's Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title.
"My wife asked me to take a step back and think about if it was me," Guillard said. "If someone left your team to go to an opposing team that is having a big title fight, you think you would be willing to take him back? I said, 'Point well taken.'
"I don't want to get into who voted to take me back and who didn't. I did get to talk to coach Greg personally after the fact and he told me, 'Look, right now we have some guys against it and it's just not a good time, but that doesn't mean you can't come back [eventually].' Greg left it up to the team and I understand that."
Guillard arrived at his new home in Denver on Tuesday, where he plans to live and train for the next 3½ months. He's living in the basement of a "fighter house," owned by the Grudge gym.
His wife got on Skype from the couple's home back east so Guillard could give her a virtual tour of his new digs. The tour, he said, took "two seconds." He shares the house with up to five team members. There is no bed, but he sleeps on "some pretty cool, comfortable cots that aren't so bad."
At 30, with a 1-4 record in his last five fights, Guillard says he doesn't want to spend all day in the gym, but he did want to eliminate distractions from his camp. He brought very few personal belongings to Denver and doesn't even have his own ride.
"I think it's going to take me living in this basement for 3½ months and grinding it out," said Guillard, when asked how he needed to turn his career around. "It's lovely here. I left all my cars at home. I'm catching a ride to practice every day. I think that's what it takes for me, is being focused."
One member from Jackson's who Guillard still considers a teammate is fellow lightweight Donald Cerrone. According to Guillard, Cerrone even extended an invitation for him to stay at his ranch in New Mexico until the camp invited him back.
For Guillard, though, Denver appeared to be the best option. With the UFC trimming its roster lately, Guillard fully believes he won't have a job should he lose to Danzig.
In fact, he's grateful to have a spot now and believes UFC president Dana White only spared him because he accepted a fight on short notice against Cerrone last year.
"The only thing that kept my job after [the last loss] was the fact I took the Cerrone fight," Guillard said. "I stepped up and took a fight and I think Dana commended me on it.
"I've got one foot in [the UFC] and one foot out, but I'll be damned if I let both feet get kicked out. Right now, I'm fighting for my job. I'm not going to get cut from the UFC. I'll die in that ring on July 27th before I let Danzig take my job from me."