MINNEAPOLIS – Former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson said a combination of personal problems and a lack of sleeping and eating led to the July 15 incident culminating in his arrest in Costa Mesa, Calif.
The popular mixed martial arts fighter was arrested by Costa Mesa police following a car chase and booked into the Orange County jail on suspicion of felony evading, hit and run and reckless driving. Prosecutors have yet to file charges against Jackson.
“I’m not allowed to say everything,” Jackson told Yahoo! Sports on Thursday in his first interview since the arrest. “I was hurt by some personal problems I had. It caused me not to eat and not to sleep. Emotional, yeah.”
Earlier, Jackson had spoken briefly at a news conference with UFC president Dana White to promote UFC 87 at the Mall of America, his first public comments following the incident in which police allege he also swerved his truck onto a sidewalk near pedestrian traffic and continued driving on a rim after his tire blew out.
White, who introduced Jackson to a large crowd, said Jackson’s consumption of too many energy drinks, combined with the lack of eating and sleeping, plus a split with trainer Juanito Ibarra, led to Jackson’s problems last month.
One of the people Jackson allegedly sideswiped during the car chase on the 55 Freeway, 38-year-old Holli Griggs of Huntington Beach, Calif., was 16 weeks pregnant with a boy and suffered a miscarriage in the aftermath of the accident, her fiancé, Bill Krebs, told the Newport Beach Daily Pilot.
While Jackson did not address the loss of Griggs’ unborn child, White tried to rationalize that the accident had little to do with the miscarriage.
“That one is out there like, ‘He hit her and she lost her baby,’ ” White said. “It was a week later. He knocked her mirror off her car. Rampage said, and he’ll tell you when you talk to him, ‘I care about everybody. I care about all life. I would never hurt anybody.’
“That’s the way he is,” White said. “Now he’s in a situation where somebody’s trying to civil sue him and make some money. Absolutely not. Absolutely not, this is not a criminal thing. No way. I’m no lawyer and I’m no judge, (but) this stuff will be worked out in the court.”
In the 72 hours following the accident, Jackson underwent psychological evaluations, White said, and was determined not to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“He literally was sick and had delirium,” White said.
Part of Jackson’s problems, White said, stemmed from the split with Ibarra following Jackson’s loss to Forrest Griffin on July 5 in Las Vegas. Jackson declined to divulge details when asked about Ibarra. When it was noted that Ibarra seemed like a father figure, Jackson grimaced.
“That’s what hurts,” Jackson said. “I can’t say. You guys will find out soon enough.”
Jackson said he already has begun training and is eager to fight again as soon as possible. He said he has been working with a boxing coach to improve his striking. Though Jackson believed he deserved to get the decision against Griffin, he did not blame the alleged incident on the loss.
“It was a close fight, but I thought I won,” Jackson said. “I thought I did enough to win. I felt like I won the first round. I feel like I won the third round, and I felt like I won the fourth round. I felt like he won the … second and fifth. That’s how I feel, but I’m not a judge.
“It is what it is. I don’t care about fights because I’m a fighter. That’s not going to be the last fight I lose. Who cares about that? I don’t care about winning the fight. Who cares? I’m going to come back, train hard and make more money.”
Jackson said he was reluctant to speak because “I don’t want to get into trouble with anybody.” He thanked White and the UFC and said, “I love all these guys in the UFC. They’ve been great in supporting me. I’m happy to be out here and be a regular person again.”