||01-23-2013 06:27 PM
Rampage says UFC bridge is burned. Looks forward to new chapter in career
CHICAGO – Quinton "Rampage" Jackson would like to remind fans that the UFC isn't the first major promotion he's fallen out with.
"I'm a fighter," he said. "I fight everything. That's my problem. I don't win all my fights; I fight everything. I just say, 'You know what, forget it.'"
Seven years ago, he said as much to PRIDE, which at the time was a major competitor to the UFC and a platform that made stars out of fighters like him.
Jackson felt disrespected by the now-defunct promotion and in 2006 signed with the World Fighting Alliance. So began a new chapter in his career.
Now on the verge of starting another, Jackson believes he's burned his bridge with UFC parent Zuffa, which acquired his contract after the WFA quickly went belly up.
Jackson (32-10 MMA, 7-4 UFC) and Zuffa have publicly agreed that his final octagon appearance comes on Saturday at UFC on FOX 6, which takes place at Chicago's United Center. In a FOX-televised co-main event, he meets Brazilian standout Glover Teixeira (19-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC), whom he was originally slated to face this past October at UFC 153.
Jackson said with the right offer, he could transition to another MMA promotion or to the boxing ring.
"I think I can bring to boxing what they're lacking right now," he said. "All we really have is (Manny) Pacquiao and (Floyd) Mayweather, in my opinion. We don't have any (Evander) Holyfields and Mike Tyson right now. I think I can bring that type of energy to boxing."
But there are more than a few MMA observers that think Jackson's recent gripes are merely a ploy to ink a better contract. After all, money heals all wounds in combat sports, right?
"I don't think there's anything that they could do now," Jackson said. "I've given them chances. I don't want to badmouth them. (UFC President) Dana (White) once upon a time gave me a big break and he helped me out when he first purchased my contract. But it's no secret, ever since I did the A-Team movie and I didn't fight Rashad Evans in Memphis, we've had a bad relationship."
This past week, Jackson complained that the UFC had blocked him from wearing Reebok inside the octagon on Saturday. But today, he downplayed the affect of the decision. (The promotion later said they were open to working with the apparel company.)
"Reebok doesn't care," Jackson said. "They're bigger than the UFC. They said they liked me. They didn't care about the UFC. If they wanted to sponsor the UFC, they would have come after the UFC. Reebok came after me and sponsored me."
It isn't the first time Jackson and the UFC have been at odds over ancillary opportunities. He said he was cut out of a best-of DVD featuring his fights and said the promotion blocked a deal with Round 5, only to partner with the action-figure company later.
But among the three incidents he cited as his reason for leaving, Jackson said White's badmouthing of him following his most recent performance at UFC 144 was the final straw.
"I can go with my savings and go back to Memphis and have a regular life with family and kids and stuff," he said. "Let people that take advantage of me tell me my pay-per-view numbers did this number, but then tell the press that the pay-per-view numbers did higher. I'd rather make less money then feel like I went out there and put my life on the line and feel like I got cheated out of pay-per-view numbers."
At one point, Jackson said White is "the coolest guy" if you're on his good side. He said he'd been treated well by UFC executives Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta. And he'd miss the backstage rasps of UFC coordinator Burt Watson and UFC announcer Bruce Buffer, whom he said was beyond equal in MMA.
But none of that matters as long as he's unhappy.
"Sometimes, you've got to look in the mirror and stand up for yourself," Jackson said. "UFC is a huge platform, and that's part of the problem. When you have that big of a platform and you've got the market monopolized like that, you can say take it or leave it."
Like he has before, Jackson is doing the latter. But despite the bad taste of the past few years, he will be happy fighting Teixeira on Saturday night.
"That's the only day I have fun," he said. "Whether I win or lose, that's me out there letting go. Because training ain't fun."