Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is a 15 year veteran of mixed martial arts and one of the most famous fighters to ever compete in combat sports. He has fought in the largest promotions of his era – Pride, UFC, and Bellator – climbing its highest mountain in May of 2007, when he claimed the UFC light-heavyweight title by way of a first round KO of Chuck Liddell at UFC 71.
Since those heady days of seven years ago, Jackson has fared less well. Exiting the senior circuit in January of 2013 while riding a three fight losing streak, “Rampage” has fallen from consideration as one of the best light-heavyweights in the world and now dispenses his punishment in Bellator MMA’s less than stellar 205-pound weight class.
At age 36, the Tennessee native is now looking to wind down his career – Jackson is hoping to retire in the next two years – however in doing so, he has no intention of walking away from the sport that he loves. To the contrary, Jackson is diving head first in the MMA Promotions’ business with his new brand of amateur mixed martial arts, Conquest Fighting.
As to why Jackson might want to become a promoter, it apparently has everything to do with what might be best described as an ‘MMA paternal instinct.’ According to “Rampage,” he wants to find fighters that are like him – “that rare breed” – and then educate them as to how the business of MMA works. As Jackson stated to MMAmania.com, he wants to teach young fighters about the mistakes he has made, because the sport is full of people who will “rip you off.”
“I’m looking for those fighters, the rare breed like me. That’s why I started Conquest Fighting. My plan, by starting Conquest, is to conquer MMA, but my personal goal is to get those fighters like me. I’m gonna find them and help them out. Give them the right outlet so I can teach them about the mistakes that I made.
There are a lot of people who prey on MMA fighters. A lot of guys will try to rip you off. At the end of the day, it’s up to the fighters to trust me and want to listen to me. That’s up to them, not me, but this is what Conquest is for; for fighters like me who don’t have to make the same mistakes I made.”
Jackson’s sentiments appear to be genuine and well placed, and to be sure there are probably a great many lessons that he could teach his Conquest protégées. However, running a promotion and being responsible for paying the bills is a different ball of wax. As the cliché goes, business is business, and no matter how much a fighter might want to step up and change things for the better, they will always find themselves restrained by the same fundamental rules of business that bind the hands of their competitors; profit and loss. As such, it is all too easy to fall away from closely held (utopian) ideals.
Considering his goals and perhaps the resources at hand, some fans might suggest that Jackson’s efforts would be best spent in fighter management and not promotion. As “Rampage” notes, he has made a lot of mistakes in his career and it would be reasonable to assume that many of them have been contractual. As such, he is well suited to know what a good contract is and the pitfalls to be avoided. Further, Jackson would have a solid understanding of market value. Taken together, those two points would stand him as a good management choice for an up-and-coming fighter.