Just when you thought that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson had nothing else to complain about, he goes ahead and surprises us all, denouncing the “oblique kick” as being too dangerous for mixed martial arts.
For those who don’t know, an oblique kick is essentially a sidekick aimed at the opponent’s knee, with the seeming intention of hyperextending the joint. Anderson Silva and Jon Jones—who used it effectively against “Rampage”—often utilise the technique.
Speaking to ESPN, Jackson explained that, as he sees it, the kick has the capacity to cause long-term injury:
It should be banned and it shows a lot about the fighter's character that he would throw it. How would he like it if somebody threw it at him and stopped him working for a year?
Admittedly, the move does have the potential to injure the knee joint. But, at the risk of sounding cold, that fact is irrelevant.
There are many techniques employed in mixed martial arts that are dangerous. In fact, almost all of them are used with intent to injure.
Whether the goal is to concuss or disable a limb, fighters use these techniques with the express purpose of causing harm.
What I find most curious about “Rampage”'s complaint is his sudden aversion to causing injury. After all, we are talking about a fighter who, when he competed for Pride FC, had no qualms about soccer kicking and stomping on his opponent’s head.
I have no empirical data to back this up, but I suspect that most fighters would accept a sidekick to the knee before they would consent to having a 220-pound man attempt to punt their head into the front row.
It’s just a hunch.
Of course, we needn’t go as far back as the Pride days to witness “Rampage” Jackson showing disdain for the long-term health of his foes.
At UFC 144, in February of last year, the former UFC light heavyweight champion, apparently unburdened by this recent addition to his conscience, hoisted Ryan Bader up into the air and dumped him on his head in a move that could have crippled the former Arizona Sun Devil.
How does one reconcile that action—repeated throughout his career—with a concern for oblique kicks? Such an inversion of priorities is almost pathological.
Lest this article be mistaken for an attack on someone who just wants to make the sport safer, let me be clear that this piece is intended to highlight the hypocrisy of Jackson's claim.
I am all for making the sport safer through all reasonable means. What I am not for is banning sidekicks to the knee, while allowing techniques that have potentially severe consequences.
Whether “Rampage” truly believes what he says is up for debate, but it speaks to his waning charm that these eccentric claims are becoming increasingly less tolerable as time goes on.