For some time now, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has been recognized as a highly competitive contender within the ranks of mixed martial arts. But recently, the Memphis, TN, native has been back and forth between wanting to fight and make a name for himself in Hollywood by doing feature films.
By now, most people have heard about Jackson and his role as BA Baracus in the upcoming film The A-Team . The effort of making a movie career for himself caused Jackson to bow out of his fight with Rashad Evans at UFC 107, then post a blog on his website stating that he was done fighting.
The move by Rampage lead to Zuffa, parent company to the UFC, to file a suit against the former champion.
Months later, during the UFC 110 weekend in Sydney, Australia, a deal was finalized to confirm Jackson’s return to the Las Vegas-based organization on May 29 for UFC 114 and a fight with TUF rival coach, Rashad Evans.
The move comes with little surprise since just a couple of months ago, Jackson wrote yet another blog entry that read, "Now, I wanted to let my fans know that I'm going to come back to the UFC and finish my contract…I'm coming back for my fans and to shut Rashad's mouth up and shut Dana's mouth up.”
The highly anticipated bout between Jackson and Evans is finally set in stone.
If Jackson wins this fight, he could be in line to fight for the light heavyweight title currently held by Lyoto Machida …or does he even want to?
Notice that Jackson’s blog post is very specific about Evans, White, and his fans. That apparently is the only focus he has coming back to the fight game.
So if Jackson beats Evans, what next?
In a recent interview with Fighters Only Magazine , Jackson discussed a lack of motivation to fight.
"I don't know how much I ever loved the fight game, to be honest.”
What kind of champion says something like that? What kind of ambassador to the sport stands in front of thousands of screaming fans and wears a gold belt signifying divisional greatness when they care not for it?
One has to question if Rampage is the kind of champion MMA and UFC fans want to see on top.
Of course, the bad guy role sometimes works in combat sports. Take heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, for example. A polarizing figure with a mouth that seems to spout off with some of the most politically incorrect messages combined with open dislike for UFC’s sponsors in Bud Light.
Still, a vast majority of people will tune in to either witness his “heel” persona reign in tyranny or hope that a Carwin or Velasquez will knock him off the top.
The point is, “the bad guy image” sells.
The difference between Brock Lesnar and Rampage Jackson is that Lesnar wants to fight and is hungry to compete. Jackson is looking to vacate the premises as soon as possible.
“So I'm done with the UFC,” Jackson continued in his Fighters Only interview. “They can't ask me for anymore favors. Nothing. I just want to finish my contract and get out of there, do my own thing.”
Now, the question is, if earned, will Jackson care to compete for the light-heavyweight championship?
The former champ has made it clear that he wants to finish his tenure and leave, so a title shot might not be in the better interest of the UFC. With the recent Brett Favre-like waffling between retirement and fighting, Rampage might not be the ideal contender at 205 lbs.
Jackson might have been motivated before this calamity, but according to him, the UFC was not honest in their plans for his fights.
“Dana lied to me. He told me I didn't have to fight Rashad, I could fight Machida. I did the show and then after that he told me I had to fight Rashad."
So in Jackson’s eyes, he believes he was betrayed by the organization and doesn't want to deal with them any longer than he needs to. If fighting out his contract is the highest priority, then one can speculate fighting for the title is not the biggest of concerns for Rampage.
Of course, with waffling and indecision being the mood of late, Jackson may soon change his mind, again, and title dreams may return as his focus.
Come May, Jackson could be best friends with Dana White again. We never know until the moment.
Oh, the drama of a passionate bromance.