It's no longer a laughing matter.
Jackson missed weight yesterday at the UFC 144 weigh in (watch the video here), coming in at a startling six pounds over the 205-pound division limit. His opponent, Ryan Bader, hit his mark and agreed to fight Jackson in the co main event despite the extra baggage.
In exchange for his acceptance, Bader will receive 20 percent of Jackson's total fight purse.
It's certainly out of character for Jackson to miss weight, even though he self-admittedly hates to train and get in shape. However, it's a bit more strange that it happened prior to his return to Japan, where he made a name for himself in mixed martial arts (MMA) thanks to his success under the now-defunct Pride FC banner.
Shortly after the weigh in, Jackson explained that he was dealing with an undisclosed injury in training. One that was apparently so severe that his doctor advised him against fighting later tonight (Feb. 25, 2012) at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
He pushed forward regardless against those orders because as he explains, it's his job to fight, whether he's healthy or not:
"I wasn't going to say anything because I thought I was going to make the weight. I got injured in my camp, which kind of hindered me from doing a lot of running, but I didn't want to miss this fight because it was so important to me and I fought so hard to get it. So I just said forget it, I'm just going to man up and still make the fight, keep training in other ways. I just couldn't get my roadwork. I healed up and then I got my roadwork in, but it was just a little bit too late. I had a lot of weight to cut -- I cut 21 pounds. I just couldn't get the last six. I tried my best. I cut everything I had."
On the FUEL TV post-UFC 144 weigh in show, special guest commentator Rich Franklin -- who is also a former Middleweight champion and current Light Heavyweight competitor -- talked with host Jon Anik about the scale-tipping mishap. And he hinted that perhaps a lack of motivation was behind Jackson's unprofessional incident.
Jackson didn't hold back:
"Rich Franklin better watch his mouth before I smack him the next time I see him. He's a fighter just like I'm a fighter. He should watch what he say. He don't question whether a fighter is taking a fight serious or not. I take all my fights serious. I'm tired of people saying that ... I'm tired of people questioning me. I haven't backed out yet of a fight due to injuries. I fight. If I win I win, if I lose I lose. I won some fights injured and I lost some fights injured.... It's my job to fight [injured or not]."
Be sure to check out Bader's reaction after the jump. He, too, is now a little suspicious of Jackson's motivation, but is ready to get busy inside the Octagon because that's what he came to "The Land of the Rising Sun" to do ... not worry about his overweight opponent.
"He came in pretty heavy, you know? It wasn't just a couple pounds. It is what it is, really. I'm not going to sit and dwell on it -- I didn't come all the way to Japan to collect some so show money, I came here to fight Rampage. So, that's what were going to do -- I took the fight and we're going to fight.... You kind of question whether he took [this fight] seriously.... It just kind of puts that in my mind like, I want this ... does he? I showed up. I'm ready to go. I don't really care that he didn't make weight. That's all on him."