Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is officially leaving the UFC. After honoring the remaining bout on his contract by facing quick rising Light-Heavyweight contender Glover Texeira, Jackson has every intention of leaving to pursue whatever the next phase of his career may be.
During today’s conference call for his upcoming fight, although not completely clear, Jackson gave some very brief and vague ideas regarding his future endeavors:
"You know what? Honestly I put my time in. I did my thing," he said. "I feel like I think my next challenge is if I go somewhere, I want to be very exciting. Maybe I want to try some boxing and see if I do some boxing or kickboxing … I think my strategy, I’ve done jiu-jitsu tournaments, wrestling tournaments, kickboxing fights, but I’ve never done boxing. I think that’s my biggest challenge, to see if I can be a pro boxer. I hear Kimbo Slice is doing pretty good."
With Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney recently sharing an interest in Jacksons services, it will be interesting to see what Rampage decides to do. When asked by reporters what he thinks of Jackson asa fighter Bjorn had this to say:
"I used to watch ‘Rampage' when he fought in Pride. He's an awesome, awesome fighter, and an incredible personality, and I've been a fan for a lot of years. How he could conceptually fit within the format and the structure we have? That is something where I would have to get people smarter than I around the table and discuss. I don't think he'd deny he's at the latter stages of his career. He's suffered a lot of injuries but he's still a rock star at a very high level, and we'll see what happens with his next fight. But we'll still have to sit around and figure out where he fits. He's exciting, he's entertaining, but, that would be one of those square peg, round hole situations, but sometimes you can make those work. It would depend on a lot of stuff. It would depend on the legalities of where he is with the UFC. ... We'll see. Who knows."
According to Jackson the UFC recently approached him with intentions to negotiate a new deal, but he refused, stating on today’s conference call:
"I don't want to renegotiate with them"
A very honest and candid Jackson further elaborated and shared his feelings on the matter:
"I think the UFC don't know how to treat the athletes, in my opinion. I feel like the fighters do a lot for the sport and I feel like we're not taken care of well enough. I feel like they're getting rich off all of us."
However with all the animosity and UFC drama coming to an end, Jackson has been preparing for the only thing left worth focusing on, his final fight. After being called out personally by Glover Texiera, Jackson was initially excited to hear the challenger share his intentions to keep the fight standing.
Jackson however now believes this to be a ploy stating:
"I pretty much found out from snitches on the internet that he’s trying to wrestle me and take me to ground," he said. "I kind of lost respect for him as a fighter but now I see his game plan."
As a follow up to Jackson’s statement Teixeira simply replied:
"I'm going to do my fight."
Regardless of what happens, it’s safe to say that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has provided us with some truly unforgettably entertaining moments in the sports short history. With a new mind set and looking to the future, a more mature and serene Jackson closed off the conference call with the following statement:
"I’ve been mad at UFC for long time, and it turned me into a very negative person. I just want to be a positive person. That's the first thing I do is get rid of all the negativity out of my life. I had a lot of negative friends, even some negative family members, and I'm getting rid of the UFC out of my life. I just want to be a positive person and positive role model for my kids and for other young people coming up. I just want a positive life. No matter what the outcome on Jan. 26 is, I’m going to be happy with everything because I’ve trained very hard and I trained to destroy Glover. I trained every aspect, on the ground, wrestling, standup, everything. I trained to be strong and then leave UFC on a positive note and go on with my life. The UFC will be my past."
As a fan of such a larger than life MMA personality myself, I wish nothing but the best for Quinton in his future. Just please, no more A-Team movies.