Quinton Jackson’s trainer Juanito Ibarra “devastated” by Jackson’s arrest
Steve Sievert, MMAjunkie.com
10 hours, 7 minutes ago
Juanito Ibarra, a central figure as both trainer and mentor in the life of Quinton Jackson over the past three-plus years, is struggling to come to grips with the fighter’s recent actions and subsequent arrest.
Ibarra told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) Tuesday night that he has not spoken with Jackson since the former UFC light heavyweight champion was arrested by Costa Mesa police July 15, following an alleged hit-and-run accident and subsequent police chase on a California freeway.
“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.”
Ibarra forged a bond with Jackson following the fighter’s loss to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in April of 2005. The longtime boxing and MMA trainer saw the potential in the fellow born-again Christian, and sought an audience with the then-PRIDE Fighting favorite. A successful fighter-trainer partnership and friendship ensued, as Ibarra helped guide Jackson to six straight wins, including a victory over Chuck Liddell in May of last year that earned Jackson a UFC title.
Out of respect for his relationship with Jackson, Ibarra declined to discuss speculation about his status as Jackson’s trainer until the two have had a chance to talk.
“I’m not going to get in to storytelling. … It’s not what I’m about,” Ibarra told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “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.”
Ibarra has tried to stay focused on his work with Cheick Kongo as the Frenchman prepares for his fight Saturday at UFC 87. Kongo is set to face UFC newcomer Dan Evensen.
Jackson, meanwhile, could face additional charges in the case after a pregnant Huntington Beach woman, who was reportedly injured in the hit-and-run crash, suffered a miscarriage.