("I want my belt back! And a prominent role in the next Wayans Brothers comedy!" Photo courtesy of Vancouver Sun.)
We’ve witnessed enough of Quinton Jackson‘s bizarre interviews and vehicular freak-outs to know that he’s not the most stable human being on the planet. But we were still shocked by the long blog entry he posted on his website last night, announcing his retirement from MMA; registration is required, so just click here if you’re not already a member. According to Jackson, his career with the UFC has been an endless run of unfortunate obligations, bait-and-switch, and disrespect. Here’s a quick recap:
— He accepted the UFC 71 fight with Chuck Liddell even though he needed another tune-up match to get over with American fans. When the fans booed him after the fight, it hurt him deeply. His subsequent fight against Dan Henderson was announced before he was told about it.
— He should have gotten an immediate rematch with Forrest Griffin because the fight was so close. He instead fought Wanderlei Silva while nursing a jaw injury, which was risky "because of all the drama that was happening to me at the time," then fought Keith Jardine "as a favor to the UFC instead of getting my belt back (which wasn’t even worth it to me financially)."
— When Rashad Evans lost to Lyoto Machida at UFC 98, Jackson told the UFC that he wanted to challenge Machida for the light-heavyweight belt. Allegedly, Dana White told him he could fight Machida after he coached TUF 10, because "this was a different type of ultimate fighter show they were doing." After Jackson signed the contract, White "changes his mind & says I have to fight Rashad & even told me what to say in the press & so my fans think I was scared to fight Machida."
— Which brings us to The A-Team. We might as well let Rampage explain it himself…
— In the end, Jackson says that the loyalty he had for the UFC wasn’t rewarded with the proper respect. "I wish no bad blood between us," he says, "but I have kids & a family back in Memphis to provide for & thats all that matters to me!"
Well, then. If we’ve learned anything from the stories of Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz, it’s that the wounds of disrespect can be healed as soon as the disgruntled fighter is offered more money, and realizes that the options outside of the Octagon aren’t quite as appealing as they seemed from inside.
That’s not to say that Quinton Jackson can’t enjoy a relatively successful movie career playing Mr. T, and other Mr. T-like roles. But Rampage shouldn’t kid himself — he’s a fighter, not an actor, and the lure of the cage and the arenas full of screaming fans will become too hard to resist at some point. As for Dana White, he’ll blast Jackson in the press for a while, then he’ll be talked off the ledge by Lorenzo Fertitta, and the reconciliations with Jackson will begin again. Rampage clearly made this decision in a heightened emotional state. He may be taking an extended hiatus, but he’ll come back. They always do.