Former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson coached teammate Mike Dolce against Nuri Shakir at WCF 6 at the Aleppo Shriners Auditorium in Wilmington, MA on March 14th.
Jackson, a figure well-known by many mixed martial arts (MMA) fans, came to the event just one week after defeating Light Heavyweight contender Keith Jardine at UFC 96 in Columbus, Ohio. The win secured Jackson’s shot at a Light Heavyweight title match versus current champion Rashad Evans, however, Jackson has to pull out of the bout with Evans due to an injury suffered in his fight with Jardine.
Just about a week after the fight, Jackson was out greeting fans and friends alike at WCF 6. WCF Joe Cavallaro, the man responsible for getting Jackson to come to the event, was happy with the outcome of the event.
“We were honored to have Rampage here in attendance with us. He’s always welcome here,” said Cavallaro.
WCF 6 consisted of 14 fights, with local and non-local fighters competing for two rounds in a boxing-styled ring. After two rounds, if the judges decide the fighters are equal in performance, they will go to a sudden death, two-minute round. The winner of that round is considered the winner of the fight. These rules are much different than those Jackson fights under in the UFC, where the minimum is three 5-minute rounds, and fighting does not take place in a ring, rather a cage.
Jackson’s history with his teammate first began on season seven of “The Ultimate Fighter” show produced by the UFC. Dolce was a cast member of the show, and was vying for a shot at a UFC contract. Jackson’s role on the show was as a coach, and picked Dolce as a member of his team. Though Dolce was eliminated in his first fight in the house on the show, he and Jackson remained friends and training partners after the show.
The year 2008 was a tough year for Jackson in and outside the ring. After losing his title to fellow Ultimate Fighter coach Forrest Griffin, he ran into trouble with the law. Just ten days after his loss, Jackson was apprehended by officers after an apparent chase scene that lasted about five minutes, according to mmafrenzy.com. The website continues to say that Jackson hit multiple cars during the chase, and eventually gave up to police.
Following the incident, Jackson made the decision to switch training camps, and begin training with Team Wolf’s Lair in England. He also said that he was no longer going to be trained by his long time friend and trainer Juanito Ibarra. Ibarra is popular himself, famous for coaching former boxing great Oscar De La Hoya, however Jackson never mentioned officially why he was leaving his friend to train elsewhere.
When Jackson changed training in the U.S. and began training in England, that’s when he and Dolce were reunited, training with each other and with other UFC veterans such as Michael Bisping, and Cheick Kongo.
After months of training at his new location in England, by the end of 2008, Jackson was back in the ring against past rival Wanderlei Silva. After two prior losses earlier in Jackson’s career to Silva, Jackson was able to defeat Silva by knocking him out in the first round at UFC 92.
The win against Silva not only put Jackson in good standing in the Light Heavyweight division, it also ended his 2008 on a good note.
After his win over Silva, Jackson wanted to fight Griffin in a rematch, but was denied that fight, and was given the fight with the aforementioned Jardine.
While making his appearance in Wilmington, Jackson was the normal joker he is known to be around his family and friends. As notable fighters were being announced into the ring, Jackson constantly harassed them by pulling on their legs as they walked up the stairs, and blocking the stairs as a whole. When announced into the ring himself, Jackson addressed the crowd, thanking them for coming out and thanking the organization for the opportunity to be in attendance.
While the crowd was pleased to see Jackson, and vice-versa, the event’s success can also be attributed to Jackson’s appearance. Past events have always welcomed UFC veterans, but none have compared to the popularity that Jackson brought to the Shriners Auditorium this past March.