“All I was doing was getting to my friend because he really needed me,” he today told MMAjunkie Radio. “My friend was going to commit suicide.”
Jackson (32-11 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) spoke about the incident while discussing the MMA media and what he felt was an unfair focus on the personal lives of fighters, including Ortiz, who earlier this month was arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of DUI.
The pair were supposed to fight at this past November’s Bellator 106, but Ortiz fractured his neck and was forced to withdraw. Jackson went on to make his promotional debut at Bellator 108 and knocked out UFC vet Joey Beltran.
Jackson’s career will roll on when he fights Christian M’Pumbu in the opening round of Bellator’s Season 10 light heavyweight tournament, which takes place at Bellator 110 on Feb. 28 in Uncassville, Conn.
But over the years, the ex-UFC champ and sometime actor’s public struggles have shadowed his image outside the cage.
Admittedly, Jackson’s defense of Ortiz was informed by his own struggles with the law. He said he has been “branded as a certain type of person” for the police chase despite additional details about the incident that later came to light.
“They never talked about the outcome of things, and so now I’m branded as a certain type of person that did this and did that,” he said. “The true story is not even out there that I saved a life that day.”
And while many MMA observers might question whether they’re getting the whole story of that day, Jackson rightly can claim some of the assumptions about him are untrue.
It was widely reported that a woman from Huntington Beach, Calif., had miscarried when her car was hit during the July 2008 car chase, which began in nearby Newport Beach and stretched to nearby Costa Mesa.
During the pursuit, Jackson drove over traffic dividers, hit several cars, sent pedestrians scrambling from the sidewalk, and eventually ground to a halt on three wheels as police surrounded him with guns drawn.
Police initially said the woman, later identified as Holli Griggs, was injured when Jackson hit her Cadillac Escalade. Jackson, however, was not charged for causing her bodily harm.
“The lady … heard I was a celebrity and I knocked her mirror off and she wanted to sue me and she wanted to say I made her have a miscarriage, when she had a miscarriage two days before the accident,” he said.
Yet, according to the fighter, that part of the story continues to follow him.
“She was just trying to make money,” Jackson said. “The insurance got down to it and knew that she was lying, and she didn’t win any money from that; she just got her money from insurance. It … kept the negative image out there.”
Jackson initially was charged with multiple felonies in connection with the case, but ultimately agreed to a plea bargain on lesser charges and served community service. Orange County District Attorney spokesperson Farrah Emami today told MMAjunkie that the office found no evidence that Jackson had anything to do with the reported miscarriage.
“The evidence actually indicated otherwise – he was not responsible,” she said. “He’s absolutely correct about that. He was not responsible for that miscarriage.”