Former UFC light heavyweight Quinton “Rampage” Jackson found himself back at the forefront of MMA news this weekend (Sat., December) when it was announced that he had left Bellator and re-signed with the world’s largest promotion during UFC Fight Night 58.
But new Bellator President Scott Coker was adamant that Jackson is still tied to an exclusive contract with Bellator, reassuring Zuffa that his lawyers were ready to go to war for a fighter they deemed theirs.
Never one to mince words, Jackson quickly released an official statement detailing the exact nature of his UFC return. Apparently Rampage had a provision in his Bellator contract that required any dispute to be resolved within 45 days, and if it were not, could be voided:
After five months of grueling negotiations and gray-area contract talks with Bellator MMA and parent-company Viacom, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson officially terminates his contract with the up-and-coming promotion citing multiple breaches since the removal of President and Founder Bjorn Rebney. Jackson exercises a clause in the agreement that allows for a 45-day window to satisfy any contract dispute. Bellator MMA, failing to fulfill the requests of Jackson, was put on notice, failed to respond and eventually notified that negotiations were officially terminated.
Jackson’s U.K.-based fight manager and Wolfslair Academy founder Anthony McGann confirms, late Saturday night, that “Rampage has indeed signed with the UFC.” Details of the deal have not been made public. Jackson was available for comment late Saturday night from his Laguna Hills, CA training center Rampage Family Fitness and provided the following: “I went to the UFC and we put a deal together that worked out for both of us. I’m excited to be here. The UFC had nothing to do with me leaving Bellator. I was done with Bellator when I made the final call and they still didn’t do what they had to do contractually. I wish those guys the best but I’m where I belong.
Jackson suggests that he was supposed to be provided with pay-per-view (PPV) numbers following his Bellator 120 win over Muhammed Lawal, but never received a response from the promotion.
Rampage was signed to Bellator by former CEO Bjorn Rebney, who touted the acquisition as the greatest in promotion history. After three consecutive victories in their cage, he didn’t have a fight lined up in the post-Rebney era.
It’s becoming clear that Bellator had a PPV strategy mapped out with Jackson as a major part of the deal, and his contract most likely included gains based on the performances of said events.
So of course it’s no surprise to see Jackson leave for the greener pastures of the UFC, but his eligibility to fight may come down to the results of a pending court battle.