Thirty-four-year-old former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is gearing up for what he has said will be his final fight inside the UFC Octagon as he takes on Glover Teixeira Saturday, Jan. 26, in the UFC on FOX 6 co-main event in Chicago.
During a media conference call Tuesday, Rampage was asked if he still plans to be involved in MMA after Saturday. “I plan on being still involved with MMA,” he said. “I just want to get this last fight with the UFC out of the way and then enjoy myself as a free agent and see who is interested in me.”
Rampage has had a rocky relationship with UFC boss Dana White for years. It’s no secret. His unhappiness with the UFC revolves around words like “respect” and “appreciation”.
“It’s nothing about money,” he said. “I don’t really want to go into it, but I can say I have a new reason. I’m sponsored by Reebok now and the UFC said 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? Just stupid stuff like that. So no, it’s not just about money. It’s about respect. When I step in the Octagon I put my life on the line and I try to be an exciting fighter and I just don’t feel appreciated for it. I’m taking a money cut. I’d rather take a money cut and go to another show and feel appreciated, so it has nothing to do with money.”
Rampage indicated the UFC did offer him a new contract but he turned it down.
“They offered a renegotiating contract but I didn’t like it,” he said. “I didn’t want it. I don’t want to renegotiate with them. I think that the UFC don’t know how to treat their athletes, in my opinion. The fighters, I feel like we do a lot for this sport. I feel like we’re just not taken care of well enough. I feel like they’re getting rich off all of us. We’re all having surgeries, having injuries and stuff like that. Man, some of these guys can’t even afford to pay sparring partners and stuff like that. Some of these guys fight for $10,000 and $20,000. That ain’t right man. So, I don’t want to be a part of this sport like that. I want to go somewhere where they take care of their fighters and treat us like human beings. I’m tired, I’ve been fighting for a long time and I’m stepping up for myself.”
Other fighters have had beef with White in the past, but many of them have reconciled, at least to the point they were still able to compete among MMA’s elite inside the Octagon and earn a good living. I asked Quinton if there was anything the UFC could do to keep him.
“Honestly, I’m kind of over it,” he said. “I gave them time and time again to try and keep me happy. Honestly, I don’t think the UFC… I think they’re happy with me leaving as well. So, I think it’s a mutual thing. So, I don’t think that there’s nothing they can do to keep me. I just don’t agree with the way they treat their fighters and I just feel like in my opinion we’re taken advantage of. I just don’t want to be part of an organization like that.”
Remember when Rampage first came to the UFC? He was funny. He told stinky breath jokes. People liked him. But that guy was replaced by someone else. In interviews he often comes across as negative. He just doesn’t seem to be enjoying the ride these days. I asked him if this MMA thing is still fun for him.
“I think I’ll have fun once I leave the UFC and I can be happy fighting for an organization that I feel appreciated; people who see my main objective is to put butts in seats and entertain people, and say thank you, you came out here, you were injured, you needed surgery, but you still fought anyway.” He continued, “That’s all fighters need sometime is a nice pat on the back and say thank you, most people would have pulled out but you stayed in and fought. I believe I’ll be happy once I go to a place where they recognize and do stuff like that.”
Listen to this and everything else Rampage had to say on Tuesday’s media call: UFC on FOX 6 media call: Johnson, Dodson, Rampage, Teixeira, Cerrone, Pettis.