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Rampage Jackson misses weight at UFC 144, blames it on training injury

Fight with Ryan Bader will go on as scheduled, but Jackson loses 20 percent of his purse

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Steve Marcus

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, left, stands in the ring after three rounds against “Suga” Rashad Evans in a light heavyweight main event during UFC 114 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

One fighter missed weight at the UFC 144 weigh-in Friday night in Saitama, Japan.

Unfortunately for the UFC, it was the biggest star on the card who came in six pounds overweight. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson tipped the scales at 211 pounds ahead of his co-main event, light heavyweight bout against Ryan Bader.

Bader still accepted the fight, but Jackson is forced to forfeit 20 percent of his purse.

“You guys have no idea what I went through,” Jackson said after weighing in on FUEL TV. “I had a lot of ups and downs in my camp. There was a lot of struggle to get here.”

Jackson elaborated by saying he missed weight because of an injury suffered in training that left him unable to run. He wouldn’t detail the injury because he didn’t want Bader to be able to exploit the information in the fight Saturday night, which airs on the pay-per-view portion of the event at 7.

According to Jackson, doctors advised him to cancel the bout. But another opportunity to fight in Japan meant too much to him.

He was healthy enough this week to run on the treadmill, which he thought would be enough to hit the 205-pound limit.

“I didn’t know I wasn’t going to make weight until a couple of hours ago,” Jackson explained.

Jackson said he attempted to lose 27 pounds since arriving in Japan earlier this week. He could only shed 21.

Bader was disappointed but never seriously considered declining the fight.

“I’m not going to sit and dwell about it,” Bader said. “I came all the way to Japan and I didn’t come here to collect my show money and come home. I came here to fight Rampage.”

Bader wasn’t the only fighter who openly questioned Jackson’s motivation after he missed weight. Working as an analyst on FUEL, former UFC middleweight champion and current light heavyweight Rich Franklin did the same.

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Rich Franklin takes questions from the media during UFC 126 open workouts Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011, at Mandalay Bay Events Center.

The remarks from Franklin angered Jackson.

“Rich Franklin can watch his mouth before I smack him the next time I see him,” Jackson said. “He’s a fighter just like I’m a fighter. He should watch what he says. You don’t question if a fighter takes a fight seriously or not. I take all my fights seriously.”

Jackson posted a message to his Twitter account apologizing to Bader, the UFC and his fans.

The incident overshadowed an otherwise uneventful weigh-in. The two main event fighters set to square off for the lightweight title, Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson, each had a pound to spare after coming in at 154.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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