Opinion: Rampage Heading For Another Meltdown?
By Jesse Heitz
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson seems to be at it again, giving fans and writers alike an incredible level of entertainment without stepping foot into The Octagon. In a recent conference call, the always excitable fan-favorite nearly frothed at the mouth regarding his current situation in the UFC and his athletic future.
In a January 16th article from the “Las Vegas Sun”, “Rampage” made the following statements regarding his displeasure with the UFC and how it has treated him,
“Honestly, I’m kind of over it, I gave them time and time again to try to keep me happy and stuff like that. Honestly, I think the UFC is happy with me leaving as well. I think it’s a mutual thing. I don’t think there’s anything they can do to keep me.”
“They offered to renegotiate my contract, but I didn’t like it, I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to renegotiate with them. I think the UFC doesn’t know how to treat their athletes, and in my opinion, fighters do a lot for the sport and are not being taken care of well enough.”
“I’m sponsored by Reebok now and the UFC says I’m not allowed to wear Reebok in the cage when I see other fighters sponsored by Nike and stuff. Why can’t I have Reebok? It’s stupid stuff like that. It’s not just about money. It’s about respect. I step into the octagon, and I put my life on the line. I try to be an exciting fighter and I just don’t feel appreciated. I’d rather take a money cut and go to another show and feel appreciated.”
While I’ve long been a fan of “Rampage” and his off-the-cuff approach to the sport, his antics are becoming relatively bothersome at this point. I certainly will not argue that across the board that the UFC pays its fighters poorly given the nature of the job itself. However, “Rampage”, despite having an unimpressive last couple of years (including the one-sided thrashing he took at the hands of Jon Jones, in which he earned a base salary of $325,000) he’s still one of the highest paid fighters on the UFC roster. In fact, he had no qualms about taking a salary of $250,000 for his uneventful win against Matt Hamill at UFC 130, in which his salary was nearly eight times greater than that of Hamill.
On the count of the UFC acting disrespectfully toward “Rampage”, I simply find this hard to accept. Indeed, one isn’t privy to the backroom workings of Zuffa, but I think all signs point to the fact that Jackson has been very well taken care of. Guys who aren’t respected by their promotions, a business, don’t get paydays in excess of a quarter-million dollars not including a share of pay-per-view buys. They don’t routinely get top billing on fight cards. Perhaps most importantly, they don’t get a title shot after a split decision win over Lyoto Machida and a lackluster win over a non-contender such as Matt Hamill.
In the same aforementioned article, “Rampage” went on to run down his opponent at the upcoming UFC on Fox event, Glover Teixeira
“He’s a guy who says he’s going to knock me out, but I think he’s going to try to take me down and fight me mostly on the ground just like the other guys I fought. It sounds cowardly.”
“I’ve trained to destroy him then leave the UFC on a positive note and go on with my life and let the UFC be my past.”
“I’ve done jiu-jitsu tournaments, wrestling tournaments, kickboxing fights, but I’ve never done boxing. I want to. I think that would probably be my biggest challenge.”
Trash talking is nothing new for Jackson, it’s what we all undoubtedly love about him, other than his absurdly heavy hands. Yet, it’s beyond ridiculous to label an opponent a coward because he might employ a ground game as part of his fighting strategy. The sport is mixed martial arts, wrestling and jiu-jitsu are as big a part of the game as striking is. More importantly, if “Rampage” has competed in wrestling and jiu-jitsu tournaments as he says, and has trained properly, then he should be able to accommodate Teixeira wherever the fight may wind up.
I’ll miss “Rampage”, but at age 34, and given his recent performances against top competition, and his unwillingness to evolve as a fighter, it may just be his time to make his exit from The Octagon. His belief that he is no longer getting the respect that he deserves further cements such a notion.