Cutting out ketchup.
That’s right. “Rampage” has loved the tomato-based condiment every since he was a kid, he told the media after the Bellator 192 open workouts Wednesday. Not eating ketchup with every meal has been part of his strict training camp for the Sonnen bout.
“I’ve made a lot of improvements,” Jackson said (via MMA H.E.A.T.). “The No. 1 thing that I’ve improved on is I cut out ketchup. Ketchup probably has been my worst enemy. I drown all my food in ketchup, every meal I have, and I finally cut it out.”
Jackson said he had no ketchup withdrawals after cutting it out of diet besides two tablespoons on cheat day once per week. But he did start briefly craving sugar. Instead of ketchup on literally all of his food, now he uses “just pepper or whatever.”
Jackson is fighting at heavyweight on Saturday, but he certainly didn’t eat whatever going into Bellator 192.
“Even though I’m fighting at heavyweight, I still follow a strict diet,” he said. “And my coaches are assholes about it. I had to keep reminding them, like, ‘Look, guys, I’m a damn heavyweight.’ But I only had one cheat meal a week, and last week, my coaches didn’t even give me a cheat meal. Don’t you guys feel bad for me?
“I know I’m disciplined, I know that I’m really motivated to win this. This time, I gave up ketchup, and that’s something that I’ve really loved since I was a kid. I feel great.”
In a later interview with MMA H.E.A.T.’s Karyn Bryant, “Rampage” further detailed what his training camp has specifically looked like leading up to Saturday’s card.
“For some reason, [my coaches] are not telling me stuff, they’re changing stuff,” he said. “But they’re making me work really hard. I’ve been training since my last fight. I train three times a day — wake up in the morning, run three miles, then come back and train two more times a day.
“They hired a really good nutritionist, and Paul Herrera had me on a strict, hard weight program. They had me doing 25 reps of weight — that’s a lot. (They would say), ‘You’re a heavyweight; you might have to fight some fat people.’ But I be like, ‘Chael Sonnen ain’t fat. Give me a break.’ He’s a little bitty guy, a little frail son of a gun.”
Jackson feels he is more motivated for the Sonnen fight than any recent outing because it is part of the Bellator heavyweight Grand Prix tournament. Jackson vs. Sonnen is the first opening-round bout. When Jackson re-signed with Bellator just days before the tournament was announced, he had no idea he would be involved in it. But when he found out the winner would become the new Bellator heavyweight champ, that gave him something to go after.
“As soon as it was a tournament, I was like, ‘What? You get a belt? Alright, I’m in a tournament — let’s get that belt,’” Jackson said. “That’s basically what it is: I’m in it to win it.”