Cheick Kongo. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Two weeks after training partner Quinton “Rampage” Jackson officially joined up with the Wolfslair Fight Team, UFC heavyweight contender Cheick Kongo has ditched Juanito Ibarra as his manager and done the same according to a report by Yahoo! Eurosport.
Kongo will join Jackson along with new teammates Michael Bisping and Paul Kelly at the England-based gym, which is only a few hours away from his current home in his native country of France.
“With Mike [Bisping] fighting so often in America, we made a lot of great friends,” Wolfslair co-owner Anthony McGann said. “Quinton had a split from his coach and he knew what a good job we did with Bisping so it was a natural move for him.
“His old management weren’t on great terms with the UFC. It was the same with Cheick. He was having some problems negotiating his new contract with the UFC and was looking for somewhere to train so it was an easy decision for him to join his mates.”
The news comes a week after former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz accused Ibarra of stealing money from Jackson in a recent interview with Punch Drunk Gamer. It’s a claim that has been rumored for some time now following Jackson’s title loss to Forrest Griffin at UFC 86 in July.
“Let me explain this to you because it really pisses me off that Ibarra has done what he has done, he is a thief,” Ortiz said in the interview. “I have been running training camps for seven years up in Big Bear California and the most that my camp has cost a fighter to attend is $35,000. Ibarra was charging Jackson $65,000 to go to Big Bear. I don’t understand that! He was being very disrespectful and taking advantage of ‘Rampage’.”
“Including travel, training partners, food and lodging, the most ever was $35,000, maybe if you flew in more trainers…$40K. Where did that extra money go that Ibarra was charging? ‘Rampage’ is really pissed and he feels betrayed that he was taken advantage of and I couldn’t agree more with him. I don’t care if Juanito reads this or hears about it anywhere, he already knows that he is blackballed. I don’t care who you are; fighters work very hard for the money they earn and I feel slighted for even knowing Juanito.”