Former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has never been shy of voicing his displeasure with his UFC employers, and has now come out with yet another reason why he can’t wait to leave the organization.
This time out, Jackson says he is none too pleased at not being allowed to wear his current sponsor, Reebok, in his next fight, citing some recent Nike deals with various fighters as a source of his gripe.
“I see other fighters sponsored by Nike,” said a disgruntled Jackson during a recent conference call for his next fight. “Why can’t I have Reebok?”
The Nike-sponsored fighters in question are middleweight king Anderson Silva, current light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones and former heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos. Jackson’s grievances extend further. He explained how he turned down a recent contract offer due to feeling disrespected and exploited, while once again voicing an interest in venturing into the boxing world.
“I hear Kimbo Slice is doing pretty good,” Jackson mused, and went on to express further dismay. “It’s not just about money. It’s about respect. I step in the Octagon [and] I put my life on the line, and I try to be an exciting fighter. I just don’t feel appreciated. I’d rather take a money cut and go to another show and feel appreciated.”
While Reebok is fully supportive of Jackson’s venture, the UFC has not ruled out a potential relationship with the sport apparel giant, revealing they haven’t yet been approached by the company regarding Rampage. They had this to say on the matter:
“We work with apparel companies from all over the world through our approved partnership program. 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.”
While a venture into the boxing ring may prove fruitless for the 36-year old, a move to the ever-expanding and exciting roster at Bellator MMA would seem more realistic, with the organization’s CEO Bjorn Rebney going as far as to express an interest in the PRIDE and UFC veteran.
“I used to watch ‘Rampage’ in PRIDE. He’s an awesome fighter and an incredible personality and I’ve been a fan for a lot of years,” Rebney told Fight Hub TV. “How he could conceptually fit within the format and structure we have, that would be something where I’d have to get smarter people than I to sit down and discuss… It would depend on a lot of stuff, like the legality of where he is with the UFC. We’ll see.”
In the meanwhile, Jackson (32-10 MMA, 7-4 UFC) faces Glover Teixeira (19-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) next Saturday in the co-main event of UFC on FOX 6.