It is easy to understand the outrage across the Internet with Rampage missing weight for his UFC 144 showdown with Ryan Bader. However, this interview following the weigh-ins with Jackson does provide some clarity to a polarizing situation.
Rampage Jackson continues to be one of the most polarizing fighters in the UFC. Unfortunately for Jackson, the haters will speak much louder after he screws up, including missing weight for a fight. Jackson has the unfortunate timing of missing weight while the topic is still red hot following Anthony Johnson’s incident in Brazil.
[ad 6]I am a Jackson fan, although his antics outside of the octagon have diminished my enthusiasm for the former Pride FC fighter over the years. But even I will offer Rampage the benefit of the doubt on this one after hearing his side of the story. As a matter of a fact, I think Jackson’s story (if true) really gives you a behind-the-scenes look at what more fighters probably struggle with coming into a fight than we realize.
Jackson spoke to his new wing man Ariel Helwani following the weigh-in and offered a very plausible explanation about the missed weight. Jackson tells Helwani that he suffered an injury in camp which prevented him from doing the necessary cardio to cut weight. He claims the injury is healed and expected to make weight, but was surprised when he found out he gained weight coming over to Japan. He also says that the injury has healed and he is ready to fight.
If Jackson is telling the truth (and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt), you have to feel for the guy. Jackson begged to fight on the card after being left off the original lineup. Faced with the choice of pulling out of the show or going on knowing that he may miss weight and his cardio could be off, he opted to fight through the injury and take a shot at making weight. For all of the criticism he is getting, he could have just as easily pulled out of the fight and he didn’t.
Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin called Jackson missing weight “ridiculous.” Jackson was very upset about this and threatened Franklin in the interview with Helwani. It is a tricky call for Franklin. The first instinct is to bash Jackson, but as a fighter you’d hope that Franklin would at least reach out to Jackson’s camp for an explanation before jumping all over him. Or, maybe we have ourselves a grudge match in the making?
[adinserter block=”1″]I’d be real surprised to see Jackson pull this off at UFC 144. Something is hurting him and if Bader can get lucky and target that injury, this fight could get ugly. Jackson will also be struggling with cardio so does he come out fast and furious or take a more cautious pace? Regardless, I think the guy deserves a bit of a break here and more praise for gutting through a camp that he probably should have abandoned weeks ago.
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