Just In Ryan Bader gives his side of Bellator 226 near-brawl with ‘Rampage’ Jackson MMA Life

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SAN JOSE, Calif. — Bellator heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader can’t say Quinton Jackson is anywhere near the top of the list of fighters he desires to face any time soon.

For one thing, they already fought at UFC 144, where Bader won convincingly in a one-sided unanimous decision. For another, he’s got plenty of viable contenders in both of the weight classes in which he holds Bellator gold.

But after “Rampage” nearly provoked him into a brawl following the no contest between Bader and Cheick Kongo in the main event of Bellator 226 on Saturday night, Bader is down for anything, whether or not the fight makes sense from a divisional perspective. 

“I said, ‘Do you want this again?’ Obviously it would be a super heavyweight,” Bader quipped at the Bellator 226 post-fight news conference at SAP Center. “Sure. Why not? It would be easier than the Kongo fight.” 

Bader was getting ready to call it a night and leave the cage after his fight was stopped at the 3:25 mark of the opening round due to an accidental eye poke by Bader when he was confronted with Jackson, one of Kongo’s training partners. Bader said Jackson told him that he thought Bader’s eye poke was intentional.

“I was walking out, and then there was this big fat guy there where the gate opens up,” Bader said. “And he said something like ‘You did that (expletive) on purpose,’ and whispering or whatever, and I finally got that out and I understood that. And then he was trying to fight me, and I didn’t even know what was going on.”

Once it dawned on Bader what was happening, though, he found himself ready to throw down with the former UFC light heavyweight champion.

“He comes at me and he starts saying ‘(Expletive) you’ and all that kind of stuff, so it is what it is. (I) walked back in the middle of the cage and said, ‘Let’s go, then.’ Then he got held back by my dad, I think, and that was it.” 

It doesn’t exactly denote bias to observe that Bader, up until that point in the fight, was handily winning against Kongo, as he was the aggressor from the outset, dropped his foe, and was working him over on the canvas.

All of that makes “Rampage’s” assertion Bade would deliberately poke Kongo in the eye right before he was about to win the fight a ridiculous thought, in Bader’s mind. 

“He thinks I did that on purpose? I was beating his ass and he thinks I did that on purpose so I can get out of there? No.”


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