In what appears to be a rare case of a fighter having to apologize for a dominant victory, Mike Jackson has found himself on the defensive regarding his three-round blanking of CM Punk in the days since UFC 225.
While Jackson’s win was never in doubt after the first few exchanges, as indicated by the unanimous 30-26 scorecards, it also featured moments where Jackson grinned, threw wind-up punches and delivered ground-and-pound while looking away from Punk, in the direction of his own corner. At the post-fight press conference, an obviously displeased Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White accused Jackson of performing like a “goofball” and claimed Jackson had never truly tried to finish his opponent.
Jackson recently told MMA Junkie that he had not been showboating, and that he would like to discuss what happened with White directly.
“I wanted to go out there and cook [Brooks] – and that’s what I did,” Jackson said. “I got all 15 minutes, and good for him. I hope this is going to be his last fight, so I wanted to go out there and maximize his experience, as well, and give him the most [Octagon] time.”
It is not Jackson and Brooks’ cage time that is being scrutinized in the wake of UFC 225, though; it is their level of effort, and how seriously the fight was taken by the promoter and the men competing. While Brooks’ path to the UFC was paved by his celebrity and connections to the organization from his professional wrestling days, many fighters saw fit to praise the time and evident hard work Brooks put into preparing for his two fights. Those who were impressed included Mickey Gall, who handed both Brooks and Jackson their first losses. Some of the backlash towards Jackson’s perceived flippancy may be informed by that respect.
While only “The Truth” knows what was truly in his mind in the cage that night, it remains to be seen whether fans and UFC brass will be convinced by his explanation. At the time of the MMA Junkie interview, Jackson had still received no communication regarding his future with the promotion, but with Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series premiering not long after UFC 225, there has been little or no down time for the UFC president. Jackson said he has reached out and hopes to hear back from White soon.
Edward Carbajal serves as the lead MMA analyst for Frontproof Media and holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a brown belt in Ishin Ryu Karate. He has covered combat sports since 2014 and has been a fan of MMA since UFC 1. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel or at his website TheBlogBoardJungle.com.