UFC 86 Fallout: Possible Protest, Rematch
Although Quinton Jackson
(Pictures) lost his UFC light
heavyweight title Saturday to Forrest Griffin (Pictures) in a grueling 25-minute bout, his
camp is ready to keep fighting.
Jackson's coach, Juanito Ibarra, plans to protest the unanimous
decision with the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
"We got robbed," Ibarra told Sherdog.com Sunday afternoon. "We won
the majority of the fight."
Judges Adalaide Byrd and Nelson Hamilton scored the bout 48-46 for
Griffin, while Roy Silbert turned in a 49-46 tally for Griffin.
It's extremely unlikely that a protest would change the outcome of
the fight. Ibarra isn't hopeful in that regard, but less than 24
hours after his fighter had lost in the UFC for the first time, the
coach seemed determined to learn exactly how the fight was
He was baffled that Byrd and Silbert gave Griffin a 10-9 advantage
in the first round, during which Jackson dropped the challenger. In
Ibarra's view, the knockdown warranted a 10-8 round in Jackson's
favor. He believes Jackson won the third and fourth rounds on 10-9
scores, though he said Griffin deserved a 10-8 second round and a
10-9 fifth. That comes out to a 47-46 win for Jackson.
"You have to beat the champion," Ibarra asserted more than
Randy Couture (Pictures), a coach and training partner of
Griffin, gave a slight edge to the new champion.
"I thought that it was a very, very close fight," Couture said. "I
thought that it was three rounds to two [for Griffin]. I thought
that Quinton did enough to win two of the rounds clearly. I thought
they may have been able to give Quinton a 10-8 round in the first
round with the knockdown and then the second round you could have
given Forrest a 10-8 round.
"And it could have went the other way. If one or two rounds went
the other way, it could have been three rounds to two for Quinton.
It was that close."
Couture's concern before the bout was a reasonable one: that when
hit, a brawler at-heart like Griffin would resort to brawling.
"He has always wanted to bang," Couture said. "From the Bonnar
fight on, just a brawler. That's what he thinks is exciting. That's
the way he likes to fight. But at some point he realized that's not
always the wisest choice, especially with a guy who hits as hard as
The plan was to stay on the outside, use angles and footwork, work
a long jab, a long hook and then finish with a kick. The kicks, as
it turned out, did major damage, hobbling Jackson in the second
round and changing the course of the fight.
Griffin did venture inside a few times, however, and paid for it.
He took an uppercut in the first round that floored him and was cut
over the eye in the fourth. Ibarra wanted Jackson to lure Griffin
into more exchanges.
"I wanted Rampage to stay in the middle of the cage and make
Forrest fight him," Ibarra said. "I think Rampage would have
knocked him out, or hurt him and grounded and pounded him."
Griffin fought a smart fight, though. He never stayed inside for
long. Instead, he chipped away and kept moving, occasionally
stopping to drop a heavy kick into Jackson's lead leg.
"I thought Rampage needed to use his speed more," Ibarra said.
"That's what was so disappointing in the fifth round: There was no
speed, no combinations. Forrest is so long, you have to beat him to
the punch. You have to be the first to set up that jab."
Ibarra also felt Jackson should have thrown more body shots. But
make no mistake, even though he believes Rampage could have
performed better, Ibarra is certain that he performed well enough
to keep the belt.
Couture had little criticism of Griffin's execution, though the
fighter didn't hesitate to critique himself.
"I'm happy with the way things turned out," Griffin said at the
postfight news conference, "but there's a lot of stuff I planned on
doing that I didn't do, a lot of things I worked on that didn't
Wrestling, for one.
"Wrestling is something that we've worked on a lot since the
Jardine fight," Couture said. "That was the one piece of the
arsenal that [Griffin] was missing, and I think everybody knew that
after some of the submissions he had in other fights that his
ground skills were good. Everybody knows that he's a brawler and
that his striking is formidable. He had no transition skills at
all, so there was never a threat. … It's something we worked a lot
on, but he didn't have to do that much last night."
Griffin was having success striking from the outside, but Jackson's
wrestling skill and punching power also deterred him from wrestling
"He's got that one-punch power," Griffin told UFC.com on why he
didn't work more from the clinch. "And a couple of times he hit me
in the head or hit me in the shoulder, and it could have been a
knockout. So I kind of pushed off and rested."
After hurting Griffin in the first, Jackson planned to put him away
in the second round.
"That's when I was fixing to go for it," Jackson said at the
postfight presser. "He threw me a whammy. He hurt my leg. That's
what messed me up."
Couture agreed: "I think the leg kicks hampered Quinton's mobility
enough that he wasn't able to close that gap and get that inside
range where he's very, very effective and very explosive."
Jackson also said he probably had "a little cage rust" after not
fighting since September 2007. However, it had been just as long
since Griffin last competed. Couture pointed to Griffin's size --
"We saw that as a big advantage in this fight" -- and his
aggression as helping him get the nod.
"I think in the third, fourth and fifth rounds, Forrest carried the
aggression in the fight," Couture said. "He was pushing the pace of
the fight, controlling the tempo of the fight. Even the times when
they were on the ground, Rampage wasn't able to damage Forrest.
Forrest was able to scramble and get back up. He had the one nice
submission attempt with the triangle. I think that [aggression] was
the biggest difference."
Jackson said Griffin didn't hurt him on the ground either. Ibarra
echoed that statement and added that Griffin's offense, including
his submission attempts, should not have trumped the work Jackson
did with his hands.
The unanimous decision for Griffin was greeted with cheers and some
boos. Exhausted after the biggest win of his career, a significant
upset that had made him a UFC champion, the 29-year-old thanked the
audience at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
More boos followed -- the inevitable result, no doubt, of any close
"Hey," Griffin responded. "What the hell? What? What? Are
you kidding me? Come on."
He acknowledged that the fight was close.
"And I don't want to because he hits too f---ing hard," Griffin
said, "but I think we're going to have to do that again."
In the Octagon after his loss, Jackson seemed to admit defeat. "He
just whooped my ass," Rampage said, but later, at the postfight
presser, his perspective had changed.
"I feel like I won the fight," he said. "When I think about it, and
my cornermen and other people who watched it, they thought he won
the second and maybe the last round. And I won the rest."
Despite changing his opinion, Jackson remained respectful.
"I didn't want to leave it up to the judges," Jackson said. "But
you know what? I didn't think Forrest could hang with me. I said if
Forrest gets past the third round, he'll gain my respect and I
respect him. And if I ever fight him again, I'm gonna respect the
hell out of him with my right hand."
According to Ibarra, there is no "if" concerning a rematch.
"I got it. I got it. I'm not waiting. Next fight," said the coach,
who explained that he approached UFC President Dana White and
co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta in the Octagon about making a rematch. "I
asked for it, immediately, in the cage, and Forrest agreed. The
rematch is going to go like I first thought. Forrest is going to
try to do more, and next time he's gonna get beat."
Said Couture: "It could be the next big trilogy in the weight
class. It was a terrific fight, a back-and-forth battle, and that's
the kind of fight people want to see again."
Given some time to ponder another bout with Jackson, Griffin wasn't
backing down. Besides, he doesn't exactly envision an easy run as
the UFC light heavyweight titleholder.
"I'm not a feared guy, but the thing is, I'm going to fight you for
25 minutes," he said. "Whoever you are, anybody at 205, I'm not
going to break. I'm not going to quit. It's the same s--- I always
say. I'm not … you look at the champions. Anderson Silva: terrifying.
B.J. Penn (Pictures): terrifying. Every other
champion but me is pretty terrifying. I'm just a dude trying to put
it together. But the one thing I've got is I'm going to fight you
to the end, like a dog. And other than the third round [against
Jackson], where I decided just to kind of hangout, lay on my back
there, I feel like I did that. And next time, I'll bring it
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