mma / Columns

Rampage Jackson: It’s Okay, You Can Go Now

April 4, 2017 | Posted by Evan Zivin

Hey, remember when, a few days ago, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson went on record to say how much he hated us and regretted ever having anything to do with us?

Good times.

Okay, maybe “hate” isn’t the word he used and he didn’t necessarily want nothing to do with every one of us (except maybe you — you know who you are…) but, when answering a question from an MMA reporter about any regrets he’s had competing in this sport, because MMA reporters say the darndest things, Jackson responded by saying he regretted ever entering it in the first place, saying he would have been happier spending the last 20 years in Memphis with his family instead of in California, training and fighting and making money and filming movies and performing bad karaoke in random Tokyo bars.

Yeah Rampage, you have had it rough…

Seriously, though, I can understand his complaint. Family is everything and it has to be hard for anyone to be away from the people who care about them the most to pursue a dream, especially for as long as he’s been on this ride.

That being said, I’d find it hard to believe he regrets all the experiences he has had on this 18 year journey, one which could be nearing its end sooner than later.

I mean, if he had stayed in Memphis and spent his life working in construction, he never would have had the opportunity to punch Chuck Liddell in the face. How does he genuinely believe he could be happy living a life where that never occurred?

Oh and I guess winning the UFC belt was pretty cool. And knocking out Wanderlei Silva. And slamming Ricardo Arona. And getting to cosplay as Mr. T.

He’s had a good career. I hope he recognizes that, even if fighting and training takes him away from his true love: playing Call of Duty all day.

The reason the question popped up to begin with was because, as Rampage prepared for his rematch with King Mo Lawal at Bellator 175 on Friday night, he was getting ready to fight out his Bellator contact.

Y’know, the contract Rampage tried to get out of in 2014 and 2015, signing with the UFC because he was available, even though Bellator disagreed with his newfound free agent status, fighting at UFC 186 after a judge denied Bellator’s injunction to stop the fight, before he was ultimately dragged back in a scene that was kind of ironic considering this all happened right after Eddie Alvarez was let go following his own contract dispute.

Good times.

Rampage came back to Bellator and he went right to phoning it in, barely beating Satoshi Ishii in a fight that prime Rampage would have ended in minutes, and losing a clear cut unanimous decision to King Mo last Friday night.

To be fair, Rampage looked a lot better in the fight than I was expecting him to. I mean, it’s clear that motivation was a factor coming into this fight. He’s made it more than clear that he wants out of Bellator (just look how much he weighed for it…) and only finished out his contract because he really had no other option besides retiring.

Rampage didn’t care about this fight. He had no interest in fighting King Mo again. He won the first fight (shhh – don’t tell him Mo should have won). Plus, another 15 minutes in a cage with Mo would be another 15 minutes with one of those “wrasslers” Rampage hates so much.

Remember, Rampage is not the kind of fighter who cares much for facing the best athletes in the world. He just wants to face guys who will stand flat-footed in front of him and throw bombs like a dumbass so Rampage can knock them out. No leg humping allowed.

And King Mo, to no one’s surprise, did use his wrestling as part of his gameplan, tying up Rampage to prevent him from throwing punches, not that he was throwing much to begin with.

Rampage did manage to come alive a bit in the second round but he spent the majority of the fight with his back against the cage, fending off takedown attempts and falling further and further behind on the scorecards.

It wasn’t an amazing performance by Mo but it was the one he needed to avenge his loss and move on with his career, which is apparently moving very quickly, as he’s already been booked to face UFC refugee Ryan Bader in the main event of Bellator 180, a show I just learned is not the same as the Bellator New York Payperview.

Basically, he’s headlining the prelims of the Payperview. Bellator is just trying to be fancier about it than the UFC.

Y’now, with how quickly they announced the fight, having Bader enter the cage and everything, it seems obvious the promotion was expecting Mo to beat Rampage. I wonder what would have happened if he lost. Would they had still announced the fight? Would they have tried to offer it to Rampage? I mean, Rampage vs. Bader went so well for him the first time…

The question of what’s next for Rampage is going to be an interesting one to answer. The most obvious next step would be to go back to the UFC, where he still has fights left on the deal he signed before being pulled back into the depths of unfilled promises of Spike TV pilots that never materialized.

We could get into the debate about whether UFC wants Rampage back at this late stage in his career but c’mon. It’s 2017 UFC. We all know they’d take him back. It would not shock me to hear him get booked for the July 4th weekend Payperview. Or maybe they’ll wait until they nail down when the Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre fight is going to happen and add him to that show. Either way, if Rampage wants to go back, I’m sure Papa Dana is ready to roll out the red carpet and get the checkbook out.

Of course, now also gives Rampage the opportunity to do what he says he’s wanted to do the most: go home. He regrets all the years he didn’t spend with his family and, while he can’t get those back, that doesn’t mean he can’t go back now and try to make up for it. If he wants to go and be in his sister’s life again and experience life without all that pesky training getting in the way, he can go do that.

I don’t think anyone would fault him from wanting to get out. He’s 38, so he only has so much time left anyway, even though Bellator could use a young whippersnapper like him to bolster the upcoming Payperview…

Rampage has done everything in this sport. There’s no shame in walking away now.

It’s okay, Rampage. Thank you for the memories, but go. Your Xbox misses you.

Hey, did you know there’s a new Bulletstorm coming out?

Good times.

Evan Zivin has been writing for 411 MMA since May of 2013. Evan loves the sport, and likes to takes a lighthearted look at the world of MMA in his writing…usually.

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Rampage Jackson, Evan Zivin