Posts Tagged ‘Quinton Jackson’

Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting/Adam Guillen Jr. MMAMania

Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson isn’t playing the innocent victim in the drama that ensued between him and his former employer, UFC, admitting that he “messed up” when he decided to take the role as B.A. Baracus in “The A-Team” movie. But, despite his best efforts to make up for the “hard decision,” the relationship only deteriorated.

Quinton Jackson made it clear that he was unhappy fighting for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) the last few years. However, “Rampage” knows that when a relationship is troubled, it more than likely means that both parties involved need to assume responsibility.

During the Bellator MMA media conference call last week, Jackson said he was glad to finally be free from the shackles of the ZUFFA-owned mixed martial arts (MMA) organization and thrilled to be working within a promoter who “gets it” like Bjorn Rebney.

Even though Jackson is moving forward with the latest chapter in his extensive combat sports career, the former UFC Light Heavyweight champion today looked back at his tumultuous relationship with company Dana White, admitting that he was partially to blame for the tension.

Jackson, who has already embarked on a new hybrid adventure with Spike TV, Bellator and Viacom, broke it down during a recent appearance on “The MMA Hour:”

“I doubt he’ll (Dana White) miss me at all. I’m pretty sure I was a thorn in UFC’s side for awhile. I did everything in my power to fix the relationship. Honestly, I was wrong doing “The A-Team” movie because I was scheduled to fight Rashad in Memphis. That was a hard decision for me. I know I messed up by doing that. That’s why I didn’t pull out of that fight in Japan (February 26, 2012, against Ryan Bader) when I was injured. I wanted to show Dana that I still got his back and I thought I could beat Bader even with an injury. So I thought I was going to try to fix this relationship, but then that made it worse. Because Dana was saying face to face that everything was cool, but then talked shit behind my back for not making weight and said a few things in the press. That was the straw the broke the camel’s back. That’s when I knew there was no repairing that relationship and that’s the day I decided to say I am going to leave the UFC.”

And while he admits pulling out of his bout against Evans in his hometown, Memphis, Tenn., wasn’t his best career move as far as UFC was concerned, passing up on a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a blockbuster film really wasn’t an option.

His words:

“I’m in a lot better place. It’s hard to explain. When you’re sweating tears and they won’t let you have sponsors, they tax the sponsors, you want to make a movie, man, we’re human beings, a lot of people would give their left leg to do a movie. ‘The A-Team,’ B.A. Baracus, he was an icon for my people for a lot of years. A lot of people were up for that role, I felt like I was trying to further my career. You can’t fight forever. I took a lot of heat for that. The UFC didn’t see the big picture, but Bellator said, ‘We’ll get you movies. We’ll get you sponsors. Do all the movies you want. It’s better for the brand for the sport. So it’s a good thing.”‘

But, don’t think “Rampage” has all bad things to say about his former employer; admitting UFC is a “good company,” but when it comes to looking out for the fighters themselves, the world’s pre-eminent MMA organization lacks in that department.

He explains:

“I didn’t say it was all bad. I always said the UFC is a good company and it’s a good brand. I just say that they watch out for their own brand. They don’t really watch out for the fighters. They cut fighters left and right. We got kids. A lot of people forget that fighters are humans. We have families to take care of. We have bills. If you just cut a fighter, what is he going to do, where is he going to go?”

Jackson revealed he was indeed offered another deal by UFC, but didn’t bother mulling it over because he knew he wanted out.

Luckily, unbeknownst to him, Bellator MMA was waiting in the wings to scoop him up and offer him things White and Co. tried to prevent him from having such as a career in Hollywood and a pro wrestler.

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Mark Kolbe/Mike Bohn MMAmania

Dana White responds to recent anti-UFC comments made by former UFC fighters Jon Fitch and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson.

You knew Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White wasn’t going to let recent comments by disgruntled ex-employees Jon Fitch and Quinton Jackson go without a response, and on Thursday (June 6, 2013) evening he gave one loaded with hard-hitting material.

When Fitch came out swinging on the World Series of Fighting (WSOF): “Fitch vs. Burkman” media call on Thursday afternoon, it was clear there were more hard feelings than original appeared as the fighter complained about mistreatment during his time with the world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) organization prior to his release earlier this year.

“From very early on I was fighting for my job every single fight,” he said. “They made it clear to me that they didn’t like me or want me around. It’s awesome to have people working with me instead of against me.”

“I’m proud of my history, I’m proud of what I’ve done. I’m even more proud of what I’ve done under the circumstances. It’s not easy to be successful in a hostile work environment. Anyone who’s worked in any profession that had to go through that knows that for a fact. I feel like I have double the wins because of the circumstances that I fought against.”

The 35-year-old detailed multiple scenarios where he felt he was being mistreated and also claimed he was also threatened with a lesser paying contract in the event he lost a fight inside the Octagon.

If true, Fitch’s comments are quite sobering of what could be going on behind-the-scenes, however, White adamantly denied the claims and retorted by listing out all the opportunities and over $300,000 in additional financial bonuses the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) product was given during his nearly eight-year, 18-fight stint with his organization.

“Jon Fitch said he was working under a hostile work environment and that he never had an opportunity and should have double the wins he had with us,” White exclusively told MMA Junkie. “He was complaining about what he had to go through here, about people saying stuff under their breath to him and all this bulls—. Jon Fitch is so full of s–t. He’s f—ing delusional. First of all, he had every opportunity that anyone else had. After Georges St-Pierre beat the living s–t out of him, did we treat him differently or anything?

“Just to lay it out with facts, Jon Fitch lost to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 87. He had an opportunity to fight for the title, and he got destroyed in that fight. He fought to a draw with B.J. Penn in a top contender fight. Then he gets a chance to be a No. 1 contender again and gets knocked f—ing dead in the first round by Johny Hendricks. What f—ing opportunities has he not been given?

“He was prominently featured on tons of UFC pay-per-view events. ‘GSP’-B.J. Penn was the main event at UFC 94, and Jon Fitch was on that fight card against Akihiro Gono. He was on UFC 100 vs. Paulo Thiago. He was on UFC 111 against Ben Saunders, and ‘GSP’ and Dan Hardy were the main event of that one. UFC 117 against Thiago Alves? That was Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen in the main event. He’s fought on all the most prominent cards. When he had a baby, we sent him an awesome baby basket. Do you do that to somebody you don’t give a s–t about? He’s 35 years old, and since 2011, he’s gone 1-2-1.”

Beyond the fact White feels Fitch’s claims were unfair and inaccurate, he is confused why the former welterweight title challenger it trying to make a situation personal that he never felt was anything more than business.

“He was given multiple opportunities and couldn’t win the big fight,” White said. “He’s trying to make it personal. It’s the furthest f—ing thing from personal.”

As for ‘Rampage,’ White is happy the man he used to share a very close personal relationship with was able to find a situation where he can make money and perform with his current skill set.

While the former light heavyweight champion has said some regrettable things in the past about White and the UFC in general, White ultimately knows Jackson’s multi-year deal with Bellator MMA and TNA Impact Wrestling is probably the right fit for him due to his dwindling passion for MMA.

“Rampage’ comes out and says he’s so happy – he’s the happiest he’s ever been,” White said. “Why wouldn’t he be happy? ‘Rampage’ himself, and I’m quoting ‘Rampage,’ came out and said, ‘I don’t have what it takes to compete with the best in the world anymore.’ That’s a quote from ‘Rampage.’ Now you’re fighting in (TNA) where the outcomes are predetermined. You can start winning again.

“He lost his love of fighting a long time ago. He wanted to be a movie star. The movie star thing didn’t work out, so fighting is where he makes his money. Unfortunately, he’s unhappy about that. That’s not my fault.”

And so the professional wrestling career of former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton Jackson begins … already.

Well, that was fast.

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton Jackson “couldn’t wait” to get into professional wrestling.

“Rampage” apparently didn’t have too wait long.

Tonight (Thurs., June 6, 2013), Jackson made his debut on TNA Impact Wrestling on Spike TV, just two days removed from inking a hybrid deal that will also see him compete in mixed martial arts (MMA) under the Bellator banner. Jackson set up his entrance to the ring with his signature werewolf howl, high-fiving diminutive fans on his walk down the ramp.

Once he reached the ring, Jackson reiterated his happiness with his new deal with the in-ring announcer, the same rap he raved about in the media conference call right here, before revealing that “in order to be the best, he wanted to beat the best.”

Cue Kurt Angle.

The UFC wannabe, and Olympic wrestling gold medalist (1996), followed him into the ring and issued a warning that “Rampage” might be the best elsewhere (like the Octagon), but that he was in over his head in his new capacity.

Clever.

Even though the fictitious storylines are already underway, Jackson has no set date for an actual Bellator or TNA debut. However, if former Strikeforce champion, Muhammed Lawal, is any kind of barometer, Jackson will first compete in MMA as he simultaneously learns the finer points of professional wrestling.

And if that’s the case, hopefully he learns from the mistakes of his possible tag-team TNA partner, “King Mo,” and doesn’t get KTFO in his Bellator debut.

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting/Dave Doyle MMA Fighting

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — On Tuesday, published reports claimed veteran heavyweight Cheick Kongo signed with Bellator.

One day later, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said that the French fighter has not inked a deal with the company. But he dropped plenty of hints that Bellator has interest in the Wolfslair MMA fighter.

Speaking at Wednesday’s press conference for another Wolfslair-affliliated fighter, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Rebney said that Kongo has not yet signed.

“He has not [signed],” said Rebney. “Great fighter, fun personality, very good fighter to watch, I’ve been watching him fight for years, but he has not signed with Bellator.”

But Rebney then went ahead and added that in developing a relationship with Jackson, Bellator also established contact with the rest of the British camp.

While not mentioning Kongo again by name, Rebney said to expect more Wolfslair fighters to join the Bellator fold.

“Part of the magic of this relationship is I got to spend literally months working with the team at Wolfslair,” Rebney said. “They’ve got a terrific stable of talent. You’re going to see some announcements coming out literally in the next couple weeks about more Wolfslair talent that’s going to be coming in with Bellator.”

The 38-year-old Kongo is 18-8-2 in his MMA career. He was released from the UFC last month after a seven-year stint in which he went 11-6-1 in the company, with his last fight a knockout loss to Roy Nelson at UFC 159.

Jon Kopaloff/Jesse Holland MMAMania

Let’s see, a professional wrestling tag team is only as good as the name it competes under. What’s a good handle for Rampage Jackson and King Mo Lawal?

I’ve got bad news for all the mixed martial arts (MMA) “purists” who can’t stand professional wrestling.

Combat sports borrows heavily from the squared circle when it comes to promoting a fight and cutting a promo. After all, there is a reason Chael Sonnen (WWE fan) continues to get press everywhere he goes and it’s not for his sub defense. Heck, even the great Muhammed Ali was influenced by “Gorgeous” George Wagner.

Then there’s that whole Brock Lesnar thing.

With that in mind, some of you tightwads might want to take the sticks out of your asses and embrace this symbiotic relationship, because it’s here to stay. But don’t shoot the messenger! It’s guys like former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight Champion and recent Bellator MMA acquisition Quinton Jackson who are doing all the legwork.

From today’s media conference call:

“I’ve always been a big Hulk Hogan fan. I was The Ultimate Warrior for two years in a row for Halloween. I used to bench press my friends. I can’t wait to get into pro wrestling. This deal I just signed allows me to be a big kid all year round. I get to train for fights, train for pro wrestling and give you guys backstage passes to all this crazy stuff. I’m just enjoying it. I can’t wait to get out there and show TNA what’s up. I talked to Mo. It only makes sense. Me and Mo were thinking about teaming up and being tag team partners in TNA. We didn’t see eye to eye in the past and I thought I’d have to put a whoopin’ on Mo. I can only take him for a short period of time but who knows, we might be best friends one day.”

That would certainly be interesting.

Primarily because Jackson and fellow Viacom commodity, Muhammed Lawal, were ready to punch each other in the face after their van ride from hell (watch it here), which also included Bobby Lashley, another TNA wrestler who fought under the Strikeforce banner.

Just one, big happy MMA/TNA family.

True, they made up (see their reunion here), but Jackson says he can only handle his new pal in short doses. What a great storyline for a volatile tag team! The new Mega Powers are about to explooooooooode! Or not. Either way, “Rampage” is expected to make his first appearance for TNA Impact Wrestling on Thursday night (June 6, 2013) at 9 p.m. ET via Spike TV.

Will you tune in?

Ethan Miller/Adam Guillen Jr. MMAMania

Cheick Kongo has found a new home, as the former UFC heavyweight contender has reportedly inked a deal with Bellator MMA.

Not all faces will be unfamiliar for Quinton Jackson when he heads to Bellator this Fall.

According to MMA Weekly, Cheick Kongo — “Rampage’s” teammate at Wolfslair MMA — signed on the dotted line to compete inside the Bellator cage earlier today (June 4, 2013).

The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight contender turned down a four-fight deal with the Las Vegas-based promotion just last month, debunking any rumors that the French-born fighter had been cut from the ZUFFA roster after his first round knockout loss to Roy Nelson at UFC 159.

“Don’t believe he said-she said stories. I have not been cut by the UFC. I am Cheick Kongo so I know BEST what’s NEXT for me. It doesn’t mean that I am leaving the UFC, it doesn’t mean that I am staying, it means this is my LIFE. Do not believe what we tell you. I am in the best position to know what happened to my career in the UFC. AND do not worry. For the moment, be aware that in no case the UFC not dismissed me and I am on very good terms with the American organization.”

Kongo posted those comments on his Facebook page shortly after the rumor mill started working overtime.

The Parisian competed 18 times inside the Octagon, amassing an 11-6-1 record during his tenure. However, he was knocked out in two of his last three fights by the aforementioned Nelson and Mark Hunt.

The signing comes on the heels of the news that “Rampage” had bagged a contract with Bellator in an exclusive deal that will also see him compete for TNA Wrestling. The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “guaranteed” big changes in MMA thanks to the benefits of his new contract.

Perhaps those benefits were too good for Cheick to pass up, too.

No word yet if Kongo will have the same option of pulling double duty as an MMA fighter and pro wrestler, much like Jackson and former Strikeforce 205-pound champion, Muhammed Lawal.

Anyone expect big things from Kongo inside the Bellator cage?

Bellator MMA/Jesse Holland

Former PRIDE and UFC star “Rampage” Jackson is going to help change the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA), thanks to his new landmark deal with Bellator and TNA, though I get the feeling Eddie Alvarez may be of dissenting opinion.

Chris Weidman wanted nothing to do with Bellator MMA once he read the fine print on their contract.

Eddie Alvarez is taking them to court to try to break free of their stranglehold over his career and recent signee, Paul Daley, is furious over the restrictions they’ve placed on his mixed martial arts (MMA) career.

I guess Quinton Jackson knows something they don’t.

“Rampage” signed an exclusive deal with Spike TV and Viacom on Tuesday (see the details here) and tells TMZ that not only is he living his dream, but he’s paving the way for other fighters who (like him) may be unhappy with the way Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is doing business.

“When you look at my deal in the UFC, and the scope of what my deal with Bellator and TNA is, this is a dream come true. When other fighters get the chance to see everything I’m able to do with this deal and the benefits it provides, you’re going to see a big change in MMA. I guarantee it.”

Those benefits are likely the same ones shared by former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Muhammed Lawal, who also joined the Viacom family roughly one year ago. And, like Jackson, “King Mo” will also pull double duty as a professional wrestler.

When and against who, remains to be seen.

Jackson’s dream may soon become a nightmare if he’s unable to capitalize on this new opportunity. Lawal suffered a serious setback when he was knocked out by Emanuel Newton earlier this year (see it here) and “Rampage” is already mired in a three-fight slump.

You know the old saying: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Rampage-machida-faces_medium

Props: GracieMag.com

Quoteworthy:

“[Rampage] couldn’t be a better opponent and the date is great, too; it gives me time to prepare … I’m happy to be back and to prove I’m in the mix with the best of them. I’m working hard, I’m correcting a lot of things and putting a lot of effort in. I’m doing all aspects of fighting, the takedowns, ground fighting and striking … A fight between two former champions couldn’t be more fitting, two fighters who want their place in the sun. He’s a strong guy who has good boxing and wrestling. I feel he’s a bit limited standing, but he’s really strong and, although he may defend well on the ground, he’s not that good there, either … I’m going to exploit Rampage where he isn’t totally dominant. But I’m prepared for anything, whether it’s standing or on the ground.”

Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida looks to get back into the title hunt when he collides with another ex-205-pound champ, Quinton Jackson. “The Dragon” plans to exploit “Rampage” where he isn’t dominant. Clinch? Ground? Or will the Brazilian play keep-away until “B.A. Baracus” gets frustrated and makes a mistake on his feet? Let’s hear some predictions Maniacs, how do you see this one playing out?