I'll agree on the point that it may be premature for him to pursue another gym. However the most basic and fundamental striking is that you keep your hands up and there should be no exceptions to this rule. Your fighting/competing is a reflection of your training and I'm entirely unsympathetic to counter-productive training methods no matter how well intentioned.
My views are based of years of traditional martial arts; I'm not dismissing the merits of that kind of training and I feel that traditional martial arts teach discipline in ways MMA gyms may not be able to replicate. My chosen avatar reflects my view of the McDojos that have dilluted the tradional arts to the point that I spend an absurd amount of time on this forum defending the viability of Taekwondo in MMA competition because so many of the posters have experience in these buy-a-belt schools and have only experienced a bastardized version of the art. I've spent years as a Taekwondo instructor trying to get martial artist to keep their damn hands up because they joined a Taekwondo school where punching to the head was not allowed! There are literally a million+ Taekwondo students who train 3X a week to keep their hands mid-chest. They are a KO buffet for any competent striker in the world, trained or not. Worse these people are instilled with a false sense of confidence that could potentially put them them in more danger than if they had no formal training at all.
I have a personal zero tolerance policy for people training with their hands down. If the original poster wants to continue with that gym I would at least make the recommendation that the question is asked about concerns of counter-productive training and that it is a very, very short term training method. One thing a lot of 'MMA' and 'TMA' schools do is get cheaper insurance rates by being a 'no' or 'minimal' contact school. Some policies explicitly restrict punching to the the head or demand higher premiums. No school wants to advertise that they teach a dilluted version of an art, especially with MMA so mainstream. If he is potentially at one of these gyms he should find out early and determine if he is training for viability or just for some cardio.