I’ll be honest. It feels strange not having a UFC event in the immediate future to write about. As much as we fans complain about the multitude of UFC events (and the resulting non-multitude of dollar bills in our bank account) it was kind of neat looking forward to MMA as often as you would a regular sport, like hockey or "Full Metal Jousting."
We’re in the doldrums of the MMA news cycle, with nothing to write about but the Meisha Tate-Ronda Rousey spat (wait, wasn’t that last week? Or the week before?) and referees who hate Joe Warren’s brain cells.
Oh, and “The Ultimate Fighter.” I heard that was back on. And luckily, Dakota Cochrane, who (in)famously was outed as a gay porn actor, lost his fight to get into the house—meaning you can now watch the exploits of 16 ripped, shitless studs living in a house together and occasionally dousing each other in bodily fluid completely secure in your masculinity.
And then there’s Quentin “Rampage” Jackson. For a guy who’s seemingly on the way out (of the UFC, or MMA—take your pick) he’s been in the news an awful lot lately. The reason? Jackson is none too happy with the UFC, and he’s letting his employers know in the usual fashion: via every MMA media outlet that sticks a mic in his face.
So, for your benefit folks, I’ve compiled a list of Rampage’s grievances with the UFC. I know a lot of folks have expressed displeasure, disagreement or most commonly, confusion at some of Jackson’s remarks. I’ll admit, that was my first reaction as well.
Then, I stayed up all night fasting and pounding Red Bulls, and the picture suddenly became a whole lot clearer. Also, I now like house music for some reason. So without further ado, here’s Rampage’s case against the UFC, as best as I can fathom it.
1. “Why are you giving me wrestlers that are gonna take me down and hump me?”
This is Jackson’s latest complaint, and it makes perfect sense coming from him. He’s a devout Christian, “God’s Street Soldier” (yes, God has “Street Soldiers”—Zeus showed you can have all the fancy artillery and air support you want, but without boots on the ground, your religion’s going the way of lawnmower worship), and, thus, has no inclination to get “humped” by another man.
But more than that, Jackson is angry with UFC matchmaker Joe Silva, for making Rampage fight all these lay and prayers! The fans want to see a fight, damnit! And besides, in a division featuring Jon Jones, Rashad Evans, Ryan Bader, Phil Davis, Dan Henderson, a Karate guy with solid wrestling of his own and “Shogun” freakin’ Rua, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a non-wrestler for ol’ Quinton!
Oh, he’s facing Shogun next? Splendid. That leads us right into grievance No. 2.
2. “I WANT MY BELT BACK!!!!!”
See, while Jackson isn’t interested in facing any wrestlers, he does want to eventually get his UFC Light Heavyweight title back. This might seem like a strange contradiction, but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense.
This scenario would have Jackson facing non-wrestlers that he can easily deal with (like Keith Jardine or Forrest Griffin). He would win these fights, then move on to a rematch with Jon Jones, who would be forbidden from using his wrestling—somehow. This would allow Jackson’s picture-perfect striking to dominate Jones standing, just like it did last time.
And Bob’s your uncle, Rampage is the UFC Light Heavyweight champion once again! Or something like that. But before you crack the champagne, hold your horses, because…
3. “the ufc makes billions off us all over the world, n pay us chump change!”
This is a tweet Jackson sent out just a few days ago, and it touches on a longstanding bone of contention between him and the UFC.
Put it this way: If Jackson was as focused on the 0s in his record as he is the 0s in his paycheck, he might still be light heavyweight champion! Oh snap! Yeah, only stayed up till 3:30 AM thinking of that little beaut.
Jackson has always hated the way the “brand” comes first in the UFC and the fighters come second. Guys bust their butts off in the gym for months, go out there and put on the fight of their lives and Dana White pays them peanuts. Or in Rampage’s case, guys get in the gym only when they absolutely have to, put on a stinker, and get paid upwards of six figures.
If only it was like the glory days of Pride, where Japanese promoters tried to pay fighters to throw fights, refused to give any cut of the merchandise and booked fights on two weeks notice. Ah, the good old days.
Still following us? Well not anymore, chump, because here comes…
4. “I’ll go fight for some other show for free. I’ll prove to the fans that I’m not all about money. I’ll go fight for some other show for five dollars.”
That’s verbatim from an interview Rampage gave only yesterday. I’d like to take this moment to recap, if I can:
- Rampage is pissed at being made to fight “boring-ass wrestlers”
- But entertains notion of again wearing title in most wrestle-heavy division in MMA
- Rampage thinks the UFC doesn’t pay him enough money
- But he’s not in it for the money anyways, so…who cares?
That’s a contradiction so complete, so total, that it makes me feel high just trying to wrap my head around it. But then I realized: Jackson is a god-damned hero.
Jackson isn’t in it for the money, because he’d fight for free. We know that. So his complaints about fighter pay weren’t about him, they were about all those other poor schlubs who are grinding away at a living in the UFC. Jackson was speaking up for the little guy and railing against the unfair business practices of evil corporate giant Zuffa.
So, not only is Rampage a communist (my politics professor defined Communism as “everyone getting ‘Anderson Silva money’ even if they are not Anderson Silva”), but he should also start writing for Sherdog.com.
And now we know the only currency Rampage respects is…respect, actually. Real, deep down, true-to-your-soul, support-you-through-anything kind of respect. On a completely unrelated note, I wonder who would have played B.A. in the A-Team movie if Dana White hadn’t taken 'Page’s phone call after this happened.
5. Jackson doesn’t need the UFC anymore
I realize I’ve been a schmuck throughout this article, and that Rampage is probably on his way to my house right now to run my butt over (and if you are, Mr. Jackson, could you please drive a pickup truck emblazoned with your name, likeness and logo to commit vehicular crime? Because, that’s just awesome). I hope no one takes what I say here to seriously.
Here’s the bottom line: Rampage doesn’t need the UFC anymore. He’s a “name” in his own right, has a prime role in a film franchise (with more opportunities likely) and can draw money and interest in any MMA organization in the world, should he so choose.
And let’s be honest: boasts aside, Rampage isn’t going to win a UFC belt again. He’s likely in the “big fights to ride out the career” phase, and there are fights to fit that bill outside the UFC. Clearly, the motivation and drive just isn’t there for Rampage to be a full-time, elite-level MMA fighter anymore.
He should go into films, take the odd big fight (I hear Ken Shamrock is available) and, to borrow his phrase, do his thang.
But for Pete’s sake, try not to be so all over the place in your interviews. After all, this is the guy who’s run the same “stanky breath” routine on opponents for over a decade—consistency on the microphone isn’t asking all that much, is it?