Will Rampage be back in the UFC?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson lost a unanimous decision to Glover Teixeira Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC on FOX 6. He was already on a two-fight losing streak, the first of his career. Now he has lost three in a row, usually the cut off for release. And his contract is up.

Jackson has said repeatedly that he wants to explore his options outside the UFC, referencing at various points professional boxing, acting, and fighting for another MMA promotion.

The obvious next in line promotion is Bellator, but Jackson entering a tournament would require fighting three times in three months, something he is unlikely to do. And Bellator is unlikely to pay “Rampage Jackson” money once a month for three months without the PPV avenue to recoup the investement.

As Jackson exited the United Center on Saturday night, he spied sometime friend UFC president Dana White, and shouted “You’re going to miss me!”

White, grinning, replied, “I miss you already, buddy.”

There is a history of UFC stars and Dana White engaging in public spats. Among the most notable are Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, and Rampage. The first two worked out their differences and returned to the Octagon, to if anything even greater acclaim. Will that happen with Rampage?

“I don’t know (if we’d re-sign him),” said White after the post-fight press conference. “We’ll see how this thing plays out and see what happens.”

“I don’t know what to say about Rampage. One minute, you’re cool with him, and the next minute … Through this whole thing, all the talk, all the stuff that’s happened, I have remained exactly the same to him like nothing was going on, right up until he left tonight.”

White said the fight went pretty much as he expected, but added that Rampage was given every opportunity to shine, and thus increase his value to the UFC, or any other promotion.

“If I was worried about any of that stuff, I wouldn’t have put him on the biggest platform that we have, on FOX. We’ve treated him (well). He made his money like he always makes his money. He had the opportunity tonight to win and do whatever he wanted to do. It’s not like I threw him on some prelim in the middle of Brazil somewhere. I put him on the biggest platform to shine.

“He was treated tonight the way he’s always been treated. We didn’t treat him the way he’s been treating us.”

White also weighed in on Rampage’s UFC legacy, but again expressed some anbiguity,

“I don’t know,” said White. “Rampage is one of those guys that I honestly believe if Glover was fighting anybody else, he would have knocked them out in the first round. Rampage got hit with that shot. Not only can he punch hard, he can take a punch.

“Rampage’s biggest problem is that he doesn’t always train. He doesn’t always stay in shape. If he took this sport 100 percent hardcore serious, God knows what that guy might be able to accomplish. But he doesn’t.”

Although Jackson did not attend the post-fight press conference, he released a statement, via the UFC.

“I kind of wish I fought smart and didn’t get hit so much,” said Jackson. “But I always said I would rather lose a good fight than win a boring-ass one and the fans are telling me that was an exciting fight. So I guess I’m sad, but not so sad. I fought like Rampage tonight. I tried to knock him out with every punch. It wasn’t so smart, but if it was fun for the fans, I will take that and be OK with that.”

White isn’t sure if Rampage will be back. What do you think?