(“I’ve always considered myself a human being first and a fighter second. Sometimes that isn’t the best thing for my career.” Photo via Getty)
By Elias Cepeda
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson got into a car in New York City one afternoon this week, headed to Connecticut. Shortly after he sat down I asked where, specifically, he was headed to in Connecticut and why.
“I’m going to a little place called, ‘None of your damned business.’”
A standard tongue-in-cheek answer from Jackson, really. He was headed to Connecticut to visit a doctor of his.
The former UFC champion is currently on the mend from a number of injuries. He’s also at the start of what he is optimistic will be a flourishing new career with Bellator and Viacom.
After walking out on the UFC earlier this year, Jackson announced in early June that he had signed with the Viacom-owned Bellator Fighting Championships. He will fight there, wrestle on the TNA pro wrestling circuit, appear in a reality show airing on Spike and, he hopes, star in Paramount Pictures films, also owned by Viacom.
Despite this windfall of opportunity, I was a bit concerned for Jackson as an outside observer. Increasingly, he’s sounded less like the terrorizing, hungry fighter that became a world champion and more like an aging veteran content to show up, take lumps and collect a pay check.
“My main job is to entertain the fans,” he told us a few weeks ago.
“I know that realistically I probably won’t win all my fights in Bellator. But I’ll be damned if I won’t entertain people. I’m going to come over and put on the most exciting fights.”
That sentiment sounded generous, surely, but also a bit unsafe. In response, I wrote that “When a fighter who used to once be driven to be the best now simply hopes to titillate spectators by hitting and being hit, however, it can be a bad sign of damage to come.”
My concern was unfounded, though, Jackson says. Either I wasn’t listening or I didn’t get what he was saying.