“Yesterday is a cancelled check, today is cash in hand, tomorrow is a promissory note. All I know is that I gave the kid all that I’ve had, like he’s my own son. I loved him. Since then I haven’t talked to Rampage.“
Former trainer and manager of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson tells Josh Gross of SI.com that he gave Jackson serious dedication during their time together in California, but has not spoken with the former UFC light-heavyweight champ since their split. One could attribute the two going their separate ways due to Quinton losing the belt after meeting a very game Forrest Griffin back at UFC 87, but there seems to be more to to it than meets the eye.
Jackson himself has admitted being hurt by someone he trusted and was very close with, Tito Ortiz has spoken out accusing Ibarra of swindling fighters including Rampage out out money, and other rumors have emerged such as the former boxing trainer refusing to bring in another striking coach before the title defense at 87 (after supposedly suffering a broken rib during a sparring session with Jackson).
The rumor mill has been running hot for a couple months now, initially sparked by Rampage’s arrest at gun point in southern California for crashing into several vehicles while driving his large pickup emblazoned with his likeness on the side. After the coals somewhat cooled, it was announced that the increasingly famed training camp of Michael Bisping, Wolfslair in England, would be the new home for Jackson. As if Ibarra had not already lost enough talent in the wake of Rampage’s leaving, heavyweight contender Cheick Kongo was confirmed by Wolfslair to have left Ibarra’s camp and joined up alongside Jackson.
“SI.com: Where do you stand right now in terms of your training of Cheick Kongo?
Ibarra: We’re no longer together. He left just a couple days ago back to France to work on some personal things, and we’re friends. He’s been asked by his fellow workout-mates to come join what they’re doing, and they were going to make it hard for him if he didn’t. I don’t want to stop no one from growing. They can grow with me or they can grow with somebody else.“
As it stands now, Ibarra has not said or done much to improve his image recently tainted by rumors being backed by various MMA figures around the fight game. Although he did indeed deny stealing from the former champ, there was little more to be taken as concrete denials nor confirmations during the interview. Personally, I’ve noticed the general sentiment by fans to be that of support for Jackson and it will be interesting to see if if and where Juanito re-establishes himself.
“SI.com: You worked to find champion fighters and create champion fighters. Do you think that opportunity will present itself again?
Ibarra: I’ll be honest, I doubted it for a while. I wish these young kids out there and these fans really know the passion that burns inside me. I respect the MMA guys unbelievably because they all respect each other. How hard they have to train, I love it. The phone calls I’ve gotten and the people that want me to work with them, I know that there’s a champion in that handful. And if it all works out, you’ll see me help create another champion.“