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Mike Jackson claims Jake Shields spit on him, Shields says Jackson threw punch in UFC PI clash

Mike Jackson and Jake Shields scuffle at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas on Dec. 16, 2022
Twitter, Jake Shields

Mike Jackson and Jake Shields agree their clash started on Twitter. They accuse each other of making things physical on Friday at the UFC Performance Institute.

In separate phone interviews with MMA Fighting, Jackson said Shields spit on him twice before he was ambushed by the ex-UFC fighter and a teammate, leading to a brief grappling tussle caught on video. Shields said Jackson threw a punch at him after he challenged the UFC welterweight to a fight in the PI’s cage, starting the physical confrontation. Both accuse each other of lying about what really happened.

Jackson said as a result of the clash, Shields has been banned from the UFC PI. Because Shields posted the video, he plans to press charges for assault.

“We’re in a professional setting,” Jackson said. “I didn’t really think he was going to jeopardize his role at the PI, but I guess he didn’t give a f*** about that. The fragility in him, the white nationalist in him, was like, ‘Nah.’ That’s on him.”

Shields said he was outraged at Jackson calling him a Nazi online and in person and believes his response was justified, though he admitted to being in the wrong for fighting in the UFC’s training center.

“I know I was out of line, so hopefully, I’ll smooth it over with the PI,” he said. “I know I shouldn’t have done that. But the guy had for months just been popping on my Twitter and calling me a Nazi, which is complete defamation.

“I do business with Jewish people, and so they’re calling me a Nazi, and people that know me know I’m not that way, but what if I didn’t know these people I was working with? I could lose big business deals if he’s sitting there telling people I’m a Nazi and a white supremacist. It’s such a slander. I could sue him for defamation.”

Online, Jackson said he had no problem calling Shields a Nazi and white supremacist when commenting on his Twitter posts. Shields said he took notice and contacted Jackson’s trainer to set up a fight, wanting to settle the argument with his fists. According to Jackson, his coach tried to defuse the situation, and the gym fight never came to pass.

On Friday, Jackson said he was hitting a heavy bag at the PI when he noticed Shields and several teammates walk into the room. Shields, he said, was “running his mouth, and he’s like, coming toward me, and I’m like sidestepping.” Several times, Jackson said, Shields yelled, “You’re a racist piece of s***.”

“I’m trying to keep calm,” Jackson said. “Cool, let me finish my workout.”

Shields, who was at the PI to train UFC fighter Javid Basharat, said he immediately challenged Jackson to a fight inside the PI’s cage. Jackson again requested a gym fight on his home town of Dallas, he said, and, as they bickered, said, “You’re a f****** nazi.”

“So I ran over to him, he threw a hook at me, so I grabbed him, chucked him on the ground,” Shields said. “I started slapping him like the b**** he was, and he was like, ‘Help, help.’”

The short video was a brief look into a confrontation that lasted about five minutes, Jackson said. Before things got physical, he said Shields’ friend, MMA coach Dewey Cooper, tried to de-escalate the situation downstairs on another floor. Meanwhile, he said Shields continued to lob insults from the stairs leading to the floor above.

Jackson said he agreed to get his things and leave the PI. But as he did, Shields spit at him twice. Then, one of Shields’ teammates pushed him from behind, and Shields took him down.

“If I wanted to defend myself, I couldn’t because my back was turned,” Jackson said. “So you’re a f****** cheating piece of s***.”

After realizing he had to defend himself, Jackson said he tried to stall Shields while his coach tried to hold back Shields’ teammates. When he realized he couldn’t buck his heavier opponent, he admits trying to gouge Shields’ eyes.

“So, of course, I f****** hit him with the Dean Barry, because I’m trying to rip his eye out now, because I’m like, bro, I didn’t ask for this,” he said. “I got in a good eye gouge because I see when he got up, he had blood on his face.”

Shields countered that he was merely scratched during the encounter.

“Fighting’s not the internet,” he said. “It’s one thing if some dork wants to talk crap to me, I’m going to ignore it. But if a fighter is disrespecting me and calling me a Nazi and a white nationalist and thinks it’s going to be cool, it’s not. So I had to teach the kid a lesson. I just tossed him like the little girl he is and slapped him a few times before I got pulled off.”

Jackson said he had just undergone surgery on his jaw for a previous injury and was not medically cleared to fight. He said his jaw hurt from the incident and a doctor’s checkup on Monday would determine if he was further injured.

“If I have any other issues with this, I don’t want the UFC to pay for it — I want Jake Shields to pay for it,” he said.

Shields scoffed at Jackson’s plans to press charges.

“Sounds like something he would do,” Shields said. “He deserved what he got. He deserved a lot worse.”

For Jackson, the posting of the video was a bridge too far. He didn’t plan to bring the law into things before Shields made the interaction public. He said he was trying to defend himself after calling out what he said was racist behavior. Shields, meanwhile, said he was trying to do the same by countering the accusation that he’s a Nazi.

The UFC has previously taken extra steps to separate fighters with bad blood at the UFC PI. It remains to be seen whether Jackson and Shields will get the same treatment. A request for comment to a UFC official wasn’t immediately returned.

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