Mailbag: Jackson returning to action?
The UFC plans to allow former light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson to fight even though he was formally charged with two felonies on Tuesday for his role in a July 15 traffic incident in Southern California.
Jackson, 30, was charged with one felony count of evading while driving recklessly and one felony count of evading a peace officer and driving against traffic. He was also charged with three misdemeanors.
Notably, he will not be charged in the death of the unborn child of one of the women whose car he hit, 38-year-old Holli Griggs.
Farrah Emmami, a spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney, told MMA Weekly, “We reviewed all the medical records and spoke with the victim’s physician, and the evidence showed that the loss of the fetus was not related to or a result of the crash caused by the defendant.”
Jackson, who will be arraigned on Thursday, is free on $25,000 bail.
UFC president Dana White, who has been outspoken in his support of Jackson, said he believes Jackson committed no crime and was simply ill. He said Jackson suffered from delirium, the result of days of little or no sleep, no food and no liquid other than energy drinks.
White said Jackson did not have drugs or alcohol in his system when he was tested following the incident and said he was not given medication to help him after his arrest.
“They gave him an IV to get fluids into him and they made him go to sleep,” White said. White said he and UFC chairman Lorenzo Fertitta support Jackson “unequivocally” and said he spent much of the day on Monday attempting to arrange a bout for Jackson.
Though there has been much speculation that Jackson would fight Wanderlei Silva, White declined to comment. But a source close to the situation said a Jackson-Silva fight is unlikely. Silva has two wins over Jackson from their days together in the PRIDE Fighting Championship.
But Jackson will fight, likely on the Nov. 15 card in Portland, Ore., and the charges won’t impede him.
“Of course he’ll fight,” White said. “If he was doing drugs, if he had been drunk, if he had gone out there and done what he did because he was pissed off at someone, that would be a completely different story. But he was ill. And in this company, we support our friends and anyone who works for us when they’re ill and have problems. He was ill, the incident occurred, and now he’s fine.
“Rampage feels awful about the woman’s baby, but he had nothing to do with it. And the (traffic incident) occurred because he was very ill and not with him in control of his faculties.”
With that, let’s get on to your questions and comments.
My answers are in italics after the questions.
I saw on Steve Cofield’s blog on Yahoo! that Kimbo Slice is going to fight Ken Shamrock next. Is this the best they can do? I hope there is a “Hee Haw” rerun on that night, because it will definitely be more interesting than this fight.
It’s not a great fight for a main event on network TV. Shamrock is 44 and has lost five in a row and seven of his last eight. I’m guessing CBS executives are thrilled with that (And using that logic, it at least that gives the Pittsburgh Pirates hopes of getting on network TV if CBS ever gets the baseball rights again). But – and there’s always a but – there is a catch here. Slice is a highly inexperienced fighter. If he weren’t so popular from his street brawls on YouTube, he wouldn’t be in the main event, he’d be in the opening preliminary bout. But because he’s in the main event, his opponents are more closely scrutinized. What I have to criticize here are the words of Elite XC’s Jared Shaw, who on Cofield’s Las Vegas radio show on Monday said, “Standing up, he’s the baddest man on the planet right now. There is nobody who can stand with Kimbo Slice.” Say what? Sorry, Jared, but this is too far over the top to let stand. Slice didn’t show all that much power in stopping James Thompson. I’m not convinced he’s even that hard of a hitter. And I can name at least 25, if not 50, MMA fighters who have better standup skills than Kimbo.
NOONS IS RIDICULOUS
K.J. Noons is a cocky paper champion. What is your take on his actions since becoming Elite XC’s lightweight champion? He’s done nothing but run his mouth, beat a past-his-prime Yves Edwards, refuse to rematch a deserving Nick Diaz and complain about money.
Noons won the Elite XC lightweight title fairly and defended it successfully. He was offered a rematch against Nick Diaz that would be included on the Oct. 4 CBS card but turned it down because he didn’t want to fight Diaz. I can’t quite understand the stance that Noons and his manager, Mark Dion, are taking. He’s being offered a chance to fight on network television against a credible opponent. It’s a fight a lot of people want to see, although I’d stop short of saying they’re demanding to see it. But with Elite XC’s money troubles, it’s not a stretch to suggest that this could be the last card on network television for a long time. Noons is crazy to pass up that chance. He’s making the notoriously out-there Diaz look sensible.
FUTURE ON TV
Thank you so much for writing your article “What does the future hold for MMA?” You did an awesome job of putting in perspective what is likely going to happen with the sport, especially for fans new or unfamiliar with mixed martial arts. In your article, you discuss MMA moving to television networks and its impact. Do you think the UFC would benefit more by signing with a major basic network like NBC/Fox or with HBO?
Undoubtedly, any promotion would be better off on network television. The major networks – ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC – draw far more viewers than cable television networks. And a premium cable subscription network like HBO, which has around 33 million subscribers, has roughly a third of the viewers of the regular networks.
Some of my favorite fighters have been coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series: Jens Pulver, B.J. Penn, Rampage, Chuck Liddell, etc. What do you think the odds are of Kenny Florian coaching? I’d also like to see Urijah Faber coach, but he’s with the WEC. I just think it would be great to see KenFlo coach after being a contestant on the program. He’s got such a great head on his shoulders, and if anyone could beat B.J., I think it’s Kenny.
I’d say the odds of Florian being a coach are outstanding. He’s a popular fighter with a great knowledge of the game, and he’s bright and articulate. He’d be awesome as a TUF coach.
GIVE FEDOR CREDIT
I love reading the various Yahoo! MMA columns, but I do have one bone to pick. Whenever Fedor Emelianenko’s recent subpar opponents are mentioned, Hong Man Choi is called a giant with one MMA bout. It is never mentioned that he has been a kick boxing and Korean wrestling champion for a number of years. Frank Mir’s victory over Brock Lesnar, a far smaller opponent with one previous MMA fight under his belt, was never called a freak show, although it was mentioned that Lesnar was ‘inexperienced.’ Mir gets a title shot out of that fight and Fedor gets ridiculed for defeating in similar fashion (without the ref’s help) someone we know would probably beat many heavyweights, including Tim Sylvia. Why the double standard for the UFC compared to the Japanese-based promotions? Most of the Japanese New Year’s Eve shows are a joke, but this fight was no different from the Lesnar-Mir fight except that Fedor was ridiculed and Mir became the No. 1 contender for the UFC belt.
The difference in this scenario is that, in the Emelianenko-Choi case, it’s being looked at from Emelianenko’s side, and in the Lesnar-Mir case, it’s being seen from Lesnar’s point of view. It’s ridiculous to give Mir too much credit for beating a guy who had one pro fight, but from Lesnar’s standpoint, he was being credited for taking on an accomplished and highly respected former champion. In Emelianenko’s case, he was regarded as the world’s best heavyweight when he took on a guy with one fight, regardless of his background. There were other opponents out there, like Josh Barnett, that Emelianenko could have fought. That’s where the difference lies. Mir got the title shot because the division is weak at this stage and he got a big bounce publicity- wise from the win over Lesnar. Bottom line: I think Fedor has phenomenal skills, but he needs to continually seek out the best opponents. I hope we see him with Barnett, Andrei Arlovski and Randy Couture, among others, in the coming months.
SPIDER VS. THE ICEMAN?
With all this talk about great potential super fights, such as UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva facing UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, I am surprised nobody has said they would like to see Silva fight Chuck Liddell. They are two of the best strikers/knockout artists the UFC has ever had. I think that if Dana could make that match it would be one for the record books! How do you feel Chuck’s counter-striking would match up against Anderson’s aggressive style?
White said Monday that he’s considering a Liddell-Silva bout, as well as a bout at a catch weight between Silva and St. Pierre. He seems more fixated on a Silva-St. Pierre bout, to be honest. He said if Silva beats Patrick Cote at UFC 90 and St. Pierre gets past B.J. Penn at UFC 93 in January, he’d consider a St. Pierre-Silva bout after that. If a Liddell-Silva fight does happen, I’d favor Silva, though it would be decided probably by the first clean punch landed.
MMA IN THE OLYMPICS
I am wondering if you feel MMA as an Olympic event would ever be a great new event for the Games or, at the least, is it viable?
Sioux Falls, S.D.
I believe MMA in the Olympics is viable, but it’s not going to happen in the near future. I think the absolute earliest it would be considered would be 2020, but I if I had to bet money, I’d bet it being even longer than that. The International Olympic Committee is controlled by a lot of older, conservative men. They’re not likely to look kindly on MMA for a long time.