In a video that went viral earlier this week, UFC's Quinton "Rampage" Jackson got a little too touchy-feely with reporter Heather Nichols. SI.com spoke with Nichols via e-mail about the interview and Jackson's behavior.
Jimmy Traina: What did you think when Rampage started, um, getting frisky? Did you think it was funny or did you take offense?
Nichols: At first I was just shocked when he grabbed me, and all I could think was, "Oh my gosh, what is he doing?!" Then I tried to play along a little bit because I knew he was trying to be funny, but after about the first 5-10 seconds, it was just plain awkward. I kept thinking, "What should I do? Knee him? Keep going?" So I decided to keep asking questions, assuming he would stop if I did that. So I asked another question, and he kept going. I asked ANOTHER question, and he kept going. At this point I was just freaking out, but still trying to be a professional and ask all the questions I was assigned to ask, and this has been interpreted by some viewers as me liking it and egging him on. This was definitely not the case. I was hired to do a job, which was to interview Rampage, so I decided to put up with his shenanigans and finish the interview.
Traina: Had you interviewed or met him ever before?
Nichols: No, I had never met or interviewed him before. I had, however, watched some of his other interviews online, but somehow missed the other interview where he [acts inappropriately with] a reporter, so even after my research, I still wasn't prepared for that one.
Traina: When was this video filmed?
Nichols: June 25.
Traina: Has he apologized since then?
Nichols: No, not at all. He was very, very pleased with himself.
Traina: Is that the most bizarre interview you've ever done?
Nichols: That was DEFINITELY the most bizarre interview I've ever done. The whole day was a bit bizarre because we actually conducted that interview on the set of Super Dave's new show for Spike, so I also interviewed Super Dave (a.k.a. Bob Einstein), who was in character the whole time. It was definitely a unique experience all the way around.
Traina: Are you regularly involved with UFC?
Nichols: I have been following MMA off and on for a few years now and I even had the opportunity to be ringside at an IFL fight in Vegas a couple of years ago (when the IFL still existed). However, this was my first interview with a UFC fighter. Now that I'm working with Cagepotato.com, I'm hoping to become more involved and continue interviewing athletes in the MMA world and in other fields as well.
Traina: Will you be at UFC 100 this weekend?
Nichols: I won't be. But I still want to do things with UFC and work with CagePotato.com and Break.com. It's been a good experience and I hope to continue working with both Web sites.
Traina: I saw that you're a TV and film actress. Do you have any upcoming projects we can look for you in?
Nichols: I actually was a guest star on a Web series called Man in the Box, which is on YouTube right now. I currently have a national commercial running for Jimmy John's sandwich shops and I recently did a hosting job for KFC, which can be seen on Break.com, in which me and the KFC colonel interviewed people about the new grilled chicken. I also recently shot a couple of independent films, which are both looking to make the festival rounds this year. If anyone wants to keep track of what I'm doing, they can follow me on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook or check my MySpace page.