UFC 130: Does Rampage Jackson Have Any Desire to Be Elite in the UFC?

Michael EvansCorrespondent IIIMay 10, 2011

LAS VEGAS - MAY 28:  UFC fighter Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson weighs in for his fight against UFC fighter Rashad Evans at UFC 114: Rampage versus Rashad at the Mandalay Bay Hotel on May 28, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

It seems that Quinton Jackson has no desire to be an elite MMA fighter anymore. He said in a recent interview that he is simply now fighting for the money and wants to move on to acting as soon as that pays him more. That’s fine, because if he is going to treat the UFC like this, then I have no desire to help pay his salary anymore.

First of all, if Quinton really has no desire left to be an MMA fighter, then who wants to pay to see him fight? As soon as I heard that the third Gray Maynard-Frankie Edgar fight had been called off, my stomach sank because I knew that Rampage-Matt Hamill would now be the main event that we would all be stuck with.

I personally feel that Jackson will dispatch of Hamill fairly easily at the MGM Grand Garden Arena at UFC 130, May 28. What is unfortunate is the fact that he has such major talent, yet he forever seems like he does not care and chooses to squander it. I will give two glaring examples that will illustrate my point.

First of all, look at how he coached on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) in his two appearances. He was subpar, and I am being nice by putting it that way. On season 10 he coached heavyweight fighters, and he chose to pick Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson first?! That move made me scratch my head.

Then he seemed to care little about training his fighters and molding them into future mixed martial arts champions—and that is why he was on the show. He was also there to promote a fight with Rashad Evans that was supposed to take place after TUF in Jackson’s hometown of Memphis. Rampage would have drawn a great crowd in support of him.

Instead he took an acting role in the A-Team movie and decided to make the UFC and his fans wait. That was a mistake in my opinion, especially from a guy that still pretended to care about MMA at that point.

Secondly, Rampage clearly does not have a desire to be an elite mixed martial artist or regain his title because of the fact that he is never in shape to fight these days.

He admitted that when he was slated to fight Forrest Griffin and defend his UFC light heavyweight title in the summer of 2008, he had been playing video games and eating pizza and was horribly out of shape before his training camp. He still nearly won that fight! After having his lead leg battered badly, he was able to finish the fight and nearly win it.

On the Prime Time show to promote his fight with Rashad Evans, Jackson made it a point to say he was training harder than he had in his life. Come to find out it was because he showed up to his camp at 252 pounds and was slated to fight a top fighter, Rashad Evans, at 205 a mere two months and change later. He was able to blitz Rashad in the third and may have put him away had he possessed the cardio conditioning to do so.

I used to be a huge Rampage Jackson fan. I have paid to see him on pay-per-view, and I paid to go watch him in Ohio for UFC 96, but if he no longer cares about fighting, the sport in general or his fans, then I find it hard to want to support him. How can we care about Quinton’s career if he doesn’t care himself?