By Anthony Springer Jr.
To its credit – perhaps, its promotional detriment – MMA is typically short on story lines and drama. Most fighters care nothing about self-promotion (or any promotion), few will call out another fighter after a victory, opting for the tired “whoever they put in front of me” line. While this “anytime, anyone, anyplace” mentality is admirable, it does little to put butts in seats and eyes on TV screens.
Which is why UFC on Fox competitor Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s (32-10) diatribe against the company that signs his checks and his next opponent, Glover Texteira (19-2), was a shot of adrenaline to a calendar year that features some promising match ups.
If you missed the memo, “Rampage” will end his UFC career –which included a brief title reign – at the United Center in Chicago. In a manner seldom seen by an outgoing fighter, at least, not while said fighter is still employed with the company, Jackson condemned pretty much everything about the world’s biggest MMA promotion.
“[The UFC] offered me a renegotiated contract but I didn’t like it,” an audibly disgruntled Jackson stated on a recent conference call. “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. I feel like they’re getting rich off all of us.”
Jackson’s other big beef with the company was not being permitted to wear Reebok during his bouts. The sports apparel company sponsors Jackson, but will be noticeably absent from his ring attire. “UFC said I’m not allowed to wear Reebok in the cage when I see other fighters sponsored by Nike and stuff,” he continued. “Why can’t I have Reebok?”
And then there’s the matchmaking. Jackson has publicly expressed his displeasure with being matched up with wrestlers who will, in his words, try to lay on him. The former light heavyweight champion prefers to stand and bang. In Texteira, he’ll likely get his wish. But even with a track record of finishes on Texteira’s resume, “Rampage” remains skeptical he’ll get the fight he wants.
“I just see [Glover] just like I see everybody else,” Jackson quipped when asked about his opponent. “He’s a guy who says he’s going to knock me out, says he’s going to stand with me but when he’s training, most of his training comes from taking me down and fighting me on the ground. It’s a just like the other guys I fought. They’re too cowardly to say that’s what they want to do.”
Interestingly enough, Texteira offered no rebuttal, saying, “I’m just going to do my fight.”
We’ll see on January 26.
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Coming up next: UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Bisping is live from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, January 19, at 6 PM PT/9 PM ET. Click here for more info.