Monday Hangover: Rampage Jackson

This week’s Monday Hangover goes to Rampage Jackson, and it is totally self-inflicted.

After coming in over weight by six pounds, Rampage lost to Ryan Bader at UFC 144 and then let everybody know he had been in incredible shape before a knee injury during camp caused him to give up running and training as fully as he should have, and that doctors had told him not to fight.

But this was UFC Japan, after all. And Rampage, having made his name in Japan’s Pride organization, had to fight here. He just had to. Because who knows when the UFC will be back in Japan, right?

Full disclosure: I like Rampage. A lot. I think he’s one of the most entertaining fighters on the UFC roster. And, love him or hate him, the man can fight. That said… it’s time for him to stop talking.

Here’s the thing: He was totally selfish to fight at UFC 144. He knew he wasn’t near 100 percent. He’s said he thought he would lose the fight. When he got injured, he should’ve reported it, pulled out of the fight and let someone else step in and take the opportunity. Instead, he hid his injury until he couldn’t make weight, and then confessed he wasn’t near ready to fight to win. It not only robbed the UFC of some amount of reputation for putting on a high level of competition, but it put Ryan Bader in a terrible position.

If Bader won the fight, the most likely outcome, he beat an injured Rampage that doctors told not to fight. It also put Bader up against a heavier opponent, and even if Rampage’s cardio wasn’t up to his usual level, he didn’t have to make weight and so he came into the match without putting his body through as much as he was responsible for (and I’m not just talking about cutting water weight, but the conditioning a fighter needs to go through to professionally prepare for a fight).

All of which assumes he is telling the truth. Who knows? I mean, if you believe him, Rampage wants to come across as a noble, dedicated fighter, one who sacrifices himself for his art. If you don’t believe him, he’s a chump using an “injury” as an excuse for not taking his responsibility seriously and showing up over weight.

Either way, by keeping his profile high right now, he is effectively taking the shine from Bader’s victory.

It’s time to go away for a while, Rampage. Heal up. Train. Get back to form and return full-strength. By continuing to talk, you’re not helping. You’re making it worse.

A hangover would be good for Jackson, actually. It would keep him out of the bright lights and the noise of the stage…