Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s relationship with the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s brass has been turbulent to say the least ever since his UFC 144 loss to Ryan Bader, and things don’t seem to be getting any better as Jackson approaches the last fight on his current contract with the promotion.
The latest issue between the two sides: The UFC won’t allow Jackson to wear apparel from his new sponsor, Reebok.
“It’s nothing about money,” Jackson lamented during a ‘UFC on Fox 6’ conference call. “I’ve done this interview several times before. I really don’t want to go into it, but I can say I have a new reason. I’m sponsored by Reebok now and the UFC said I’m not allowed to wear Reebok in the cage, when I see other fighters sponsored by Nike and stuff, why can’t I have Reebok? Just stupid stuff like that.”
According to the UFC, Reebok is yet to contact them.
“We work with apparel companies from all over the world through our approved partnership program,” a UFC spokesperson responded, per MMAjunkie.com. “We’ve not yet been approached by Reebok on behalf of ‘Rampage,’ but welcome the conversation. We do everything we can to support our athletes getting these types of sponsorships and will continue to do so moving forward.”
Not surprisingly, very different stories from both sides.
Jackson will square up against highly touted Brazilian, Glover Teixeira, on Jan. 26, at UFC on Fox 6. Teixeira is obviously a tough matchup for Jackson, but it’ll also give the former UFC light-heavyweight champion an opportunity to prove that he still has a few fights left in him.
Regardless of what happens at UFC on Fox 6, Jackson seems intent on leaving the promotion.
“I think that the UFC don’t know how to treat their athletes, in my opinion,” Jackson added. “The fighters, I feel like we do a lot for this sport. I feel like we’re just not taken care of well enough. I feel like they’re getting rich off all of us. We’re all having surgeries, having injuries and stuff like that. Man, some of these guys can’t even afford to pay sparring partners and stuff like that. Some of these guys fight for $10,000 and $20,000. That ain’t right man. So, I don’t want to be a part of this sport like that. I want to go somewhere where they take care of their fighters and treat us like human beings.”
It’s hard to decide who’s at fault when it comes to the Jackson vs. UFC beef. Rampage’s verbal tirade after UFC 144 was uncalled for, but he does have a valid point when he says he feels mistreated by the organization.
For most of his UFC career, Rampage has been a company man, rarely ever questioning the requests of the promotion’s brass.
While the UFC stood behind Jackson on several occasions in the past, it seemed like they were a little too eager to throw him under the bus when he failed to make weight at UFC 144 and the subsequent loss.
If Jackson’s fight against Teixeira is indeed his last fight in the UFC, he shouldn’t have any problems finding work with smaller shows like Bellator. He’ll obviously have to take a pay cut, and the level of competition will be lower (which might not be a bad thing).