Saturday, November 17, 2012
Jackson steering clear of GSP-Condit
By Josh Gross
If you think about it, Greg Jackson can't get much further from Montreal than Albuquerque.
But he's going to try.
Two of the best mixed martial artists Jackson has worked with will fight Saturday night, and the influential trainer doesn't want to be anywhere near the thing when Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit step into a pumped and primed arena.
From the top, when it was known Condit would fight St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight championship, Jackson tapped out.
Out of respect for St-Pierre, Jackson basically ignored Condit the past few months. When the 28-year-old challenger entered the gym, Jackson exited. Maintaining the champion's trust was paramount. And, because of camp policy, Jackson also didn't serve as guru for a French Canadian MMA great coming off knee surgery tasked with defending his title against a serious threat.
Jackson won't be there to offer sage words in the locker room Saturday. He won't settle breathing patterns between rounds. He won't exist in the Bell Centre outside of his ghostly presence.
Instead, there's a good chance Jackson will be camping somewhere in the New Mexico desert on fight night. He'll figure it out in the morning, but an hour before the fighters made weight Friday, Jackson had it in his head to "maybe head out to a ghost town -- or hang out at my house."
Based on his attitude leading up to the fight, a chilly evening spent sleeping near a ghost town seems the perfect destination for Jackson, who claimed he hasn't played the fight out in his mind and, acting the part of an ostrich, won't bother watching live.
Maybe he'll know results sometime Sunday, he said.
Jackson expects an exciting contest, and he wished fight of the night bonuses upon them both. But that was as far as he would go when it came to discussing the anticipated contest.
As for searching for signs of life in the middle of nowhere, Jackson calls it a hobby. He has found books, shoes, horseshoes and bullets.
Seen toppled buildings, encountered history.
"When I get a chance, which isn't very often lately, I like to go get lost in the desert," Jackson said. "Sometimes I'll do couple-day trips, sometimes I'll just do a one-day thing, but it will probably be at least an overnight go-get-lost thing, maybe camp. We'll see.
"I've never found an old gun or anything like that, but tons of odds and ends that was these peoples' lives for a long time. It's really, really cool to see. I found a great book on phrenology one time."
Phrenology is the detailed study of the shape and size of the cranium as an indication of character and mental abilities. You can understand why Jackson, with his reputation for all things cerebral, found it fascinating.
Out of respect, he left the book where he found it.
"Those things are very old and either belong to the people that own the land or a museum, but it definitely does not belong to me," he said.
So how much credit belongs to him for St-Pierre's shift into a dominant champion? How much credit belongs to him for Condit's rise?
The fighters' reverential words leading up to UFC 154 speak loudly to Jackson's contributions. He'll always downplay what he does, but if Jackson's ghostly absence looms large over the result, he might not enjoy the luxury of hiding in the desert next time.