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Quinton Jackson: Fighters can’t earn a living elsewhere ‘like you can in the UFC’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

MONTREAL – Quinton Jackson arrived to the media day on the Pavilion Jacques-Cartier like a man resurrected. Just days ago he was still forbidden from competing on this weekend’s UFC 186 card after Bellator sued him for breach of contract and an injunction was filed in New Jersey. Just as suddenly, he was back on for his fight with Fabio Maldonado in one of the crazier bait-and-switch moments you’ll see in the fight game.

And after his off-again, on-again month leading up to Fight Week -- along with the process of just entering Canada, which he recounted as harrowing --it still remains to be seen how he looks on Saturday night when he and the wheelhouse slugger Maldonado square off. Jackson said it’s been a whirlwind just to get here.

He likened the strange process of getting to the point where his fight was definitively happening to that of a fight itself.

"I agree, this is the strangest of the strangest that I can think of," he told a throng of media at the "Scena," on the old port. "I’ve never went through this type of fight before. I felt like I had to fight to get here. And it was a really tough fight."

Now back in the crosshairs of the Brazilian Maldonado, the bout -- which appears as the co-main event on the pay-per-view -- will be contested at a catchweight of 215 pounds. But that the fight is on, after former hockey player Steve Bosse had been booked to replace Jackson, has been the buzz this week in Montreal. Even with the legal process still unfolding for his contractual rights between Zuffa and Bellator, "Rampage" will at the very least be making a cameo appearance with the UFC. Jackson left the UFC back in early-2013 after publicly voicing his displeasure with the promotion on a number of topics ranging from pay to sponsorship clothing to matchmaker Joe Silva’s matchmaking ability.

He was guarded in talking about the suit, but did say he and UFC president Dana White had patched up whatever problems they’d had in the past.

"I talked to Dana on the phone the other day," he said. "Dana’s cool. I think we all grew up. I had some problems with some stuff I felt like I was receiving, and [UFC CEO] Lorenzo [Fertitta] and I, we talked about it. So this time if I feel like I should receive some stuff that I wasn’t getting before, I will talk about it first and see if we can’t get it fixed.

"Honestly there’s a lot worse shows out there than the UFC. People think that MMA fighters have been treated bad and stuff like that…there are people out there that don’t care about your one bit. At least in the UFC you can earn a pretty good living. Other places, I don’t see you earning no living like you earn in the UFC."

Jackson also said that he didn’t regret taking a chance and signing with Bellator when he did. At the time it felt like the right move.

"And I’m just being real, I always try to keep it real," he said. "I thought that there was something better. I thought, ‘oh, I could go out there and do better.’ You got to try, though. I’m a fighter. One thing about me, I fight every day. I was born this way. I can’t help it. I fight everything. I’m not only a physical fighter…I’m the worst person to argue with, I fight everything."

Jackson last fought in May of last year for Bellator’s foray into PPV against Muhammed Lawal. He won a close decision, which set the table for a rematch -- or, at the time, possibly another PPV against somebody else. Asked if he regretted not facing anybody on the Bellator roster, in particular that rematch with Lawal, Jackson didn’t hesitate.

"No, come on man," he said. "Obviously right after the [Lawal] fight I was upset that I didn’t knock him out. So I wanted to knock him out, but there really wasn’t anyone else in Bellator to fight really. But then I thought about it, and I was like [if we fought again] he ain’t going to try to do anything but the same thing that he did to [Cheick] Kongo, he’ll just stall you out and lay on top of you. They got nothing going on for them over there."