Former UFC champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is currently preparing to close out his contract with his current employers after a long, disgruntle relationship regarding compensation. Jackson shouldn’t worry about searching for a new employer however as Bellator promotions CEO, Bjorn Rebney has already shared interest in bringing in the charismatic heavyweight into the tournament.
“I used to watch ‘Rampage’ when he fought in Pride,” Rebney said. “That’s a tough question. He’s an awesome, awesome fighter, and an incredible personality, and I’ve been a fan for a lot of years. How he could conceptually fit within the format and the structure we have? That is something where I would have to get people smarter than I around the table and discuss. I don’t think he’d deny he’s at the latter stages of his career. He’s suffered a lot of injuries but he’s still a rock star at a very high level, and we’ll see what happens with his next fight. But we’ll still have to sit around and figure out where he fits. He’s exciting, he’s entertaining, but, that would be one of those square peg, round hole situations, but sometimes you can make those work. It would depend on a lot of stuff. It would depend on the legalities of where he is with the UFC. … We’ll see. Who knows.”
As for fellow heavyweight superstar Josh Barnett, Rebney has no illusions about the UFC already working to enter him into contract, and will be steering clear of another bidding war. The UFC has just placed Barnett on their UFC.com roster, signaling an announcement shortly of the new addition.
I think you can count on the fact the guys who the UFC can monetize, who are draws, they will sign quickly,” Rebney said. “Then the guys who haven’t gotten there yet or who have had their day, they’re going to let go. And we’ll look, just like we look when a guy’s contract comes up and see who conceptually we could sign, if it makes sense in our format. Our format’s tough. There’s no big getting to the end goal in our [tournament] format. There’s no ‘Kimbo Slice has a superfight’, if you’re not good enough to compete you’re going to get blown out in the first or second round.
“Our focus right now is the next three months, Rebney continued. “Everything we’re doing right now is focused on that. [Barnett] hasn’t been a topic of conversation in our meetings with the staff. Josh is a great character and he’s had some great fights, but its not really on our radar.”
“We’ve never looked to get in a bidding war with someone if it didn’t make sense,” Rebney said. “We’ve always, the business model has been what’s driven the decision making. We’ve never been, ‘I bet if we did this and I bet if we did that we can conceptually do this.’ It was based on real models, Excel spreadsheets and figuring out, how do we turn this into a profit center for the company or at least a cash flow break even that could build to something. That philosophy is not going to change.”