(Better times. Photo courtesy of Sherdog.com)
The split with trainer Juanito Ibarra is said to have precipitated former UFC light heavyweight champ Quinton Jackson‘s mental breakdown, but Ibarra himself has been quiet on the issue. While he still refuses to talk to about exactly what happened between he and Rampage, he does seem to be deeply affected by it in this talk with MMA Junkie:
“I’m devastated by what he’s been through and some of the things I’ve heard,” said Ibarra. “I’ve not sat down with Quinton to this day to discuss things. I pray for his well-being, and if I helped Quinton out a little bit with his growth in the sport, then I’ve been very blessed and honored to do that. I love this kid with all my heart, and I wish him nothing but the best.”
“I’m not going to get in to storytelling. … It’s not what I’m about. I haven’t sat down with Quinton Jackson, and I’m not going to hear things through sources and through people. This is a kid I’ve been with for almost four years. I have nothing but love and support for him. All I want for Quinton right now is what’s best for him. Whatever he needs from me in any way, I’m here for him and always have been.”
Recent reports have attributed the split to money, but as more information on Jackson’s mental state becomes apparent it seems less and less likely, if only for the reason that money is way too normal a thing for fighters and trainers to squabble over, and nothing about this situation seems normal. Particularly since Ibarra seems to be as much of a spiritual adviser as a trainer to Jackson, perhaps a reconciliation of some kind could really help the former champ.