Rampage Jackson has accused Jon Jones of spying. Yep, you read that right, spying. Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole filed the unexpected report today.
It’s kind of a long story, but the short version is Jackson suspected there was a spy in his camp when he fought Rashad Evans last year after Evans repeatedly punched him in his injured knee that only members of his camp knew about. Then recently, when a friend tipped him off that Jones’ manager placed a spy in his camp, Rampage faked a hand injury in training to see if it would come back around. Four hours later, Rampage’s manager received a call from UFC matchmaker Joe Silva asking about the supposed injury. And guess who called Silva? Jones’ manager, Malki Kawa.
“One of my friends was talking to Jon Jones’ manager recently, and Jon Jones’ manager was saying that he knows everything that is going on in our camp,” Jackson said. “He said he had spies in our camp and he knew everything that was going on. That got me thinking.
“How did he know about my hand injury that fast? It wasn’t on the Internet, and yet he knew about my hand injury right away. The UFC people were in Brazil, which is why it probably took them four hours to call me. That shows me two things: They have spies in my camp, one, and two, they’re dumb as hell, because they didn’t know how to use the information correctly and to wait. He called right away, running to Joe Silva. Joe Silva called my manager right away.”
“I don’t care what Jon Jones is doing, and I don’t care what his game plan is,” the former UFC light heavyweight champion said. “I have zero care. I still have the honor of a fighter and going into battle the right way, not spying on my opponent. I’m not scared about my opponent, asking a lot of questions or worrying about what he’s doing. I don’t even watch film.”
While Rampage’s side of the story certainly makes it look like Jones’ camp is guilty, Kawa says it’s absolutely not true.
“I promise to God, I have no spy in that camp,” Kawa said. “It’s completely and totally untrue. There is nothing to it at all. It’s funny he said that, though, because we’ve heard he has had old training partners of Jon coming in to work with him. We don’t care and it’s kind of hilarious he’s doing this. But I can guarantee you there is nothing at all that is true about this other than that I called Joe Silva after someone put out a thing on Twitter that Rampage was injured and pulling out. I wanted to know what was up, but it was no more than that. That is it.”
Rashad Evans, who was not managed by Kawa when he fought Rampage, also denied the accusations.
“I never heard a thing about it,” Evans said of Jackson’s knee injury. “I heard him talk about it after the fight. I didn’t know about it going into the fight. When I had him against the cage, I kept hitting him in the knee because of how he was reacting, not because anybody told me anything prior.
“When you’re in a fight, you just go for what you can get a reaction from. I’d punch him in the toe if I felt it was bothering him. We were leaning against the cage and it was really hard to take him down from there. I really couldn’t do much to him and he couldn’t do much to me. I wanted to keep the position and so I didn’t want the referee to break us. So I had to keep looking busy and I saw it was bothering him, so I kept hitting him in his leg. That was it.”
Rampage believes he knows who the spy might be, but says he’ll never release his identity to the public even if he confirms it.
Unfortunately, it’s Rampage’s suspicion against Kawa’s word at this point, so it’s impossible to know if it’s true or not with the information given, but it’s definitely a shady tactic if it is.
Update: Jon Jones responds to Rampage Jackson on Twitter:
@Rampage4real Just so you know, I’m not a person who looks for shortcuts in life. Unlike you, MMA is not something I do because of money. It’s a way of life for me and I would never disrespect the integrity of that. I have way more faith in myself, as well as, respect for the art of fighting to ever stoop that low, thats just bad karma. Believe me or not, I’ve said my part.. hoping you have a safe and healthy finish to your camp.. #Respect
Update: And it begins to escalate…