One-on-One with Quinton “Rampage Jackson
Parked outside NAIA Terminal 3 for two hours inside a limousine with four beautiful KOTC girls, I ruminated on how tough a job being an independent MMA writer is. Here I am, working overtime along with these ladies, waiting for former UFC LHW champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson to arrive.
I could be staying at home, sipping hot coffee. Instead, because of our media partnership with King of the Cage Philippines, I was tasked to give a one-on-one interview with “Rampage”, inside his limousine, while we drove from the airport to the hotel at Solaire Resort & Casino.
I choke when I speak to an MMA fighter I look up to. It was a good thing that I had three lovely ladies to keep “Rampage” and his brother-from-another-mother Dave company. I was all the more happy that they were helping the interview process by asking their own questions to “Rampage”. Good questions at that.
“When was the first time you punched someone in the face?” asked one of the girls. “I’ve been fighting my whole life,” replied Rampage. “I didn’t like fighting but there were a lot of bullies in my neighborhood. So I had to protect myself.” It’s a story we’ve heard from a lot of fighters. GSP, Mark Munoz, and apparently, the tough-as-nails Quinton Jackson as well.
Shifting to more serious MMA talk, I asked about his move from the UFC to touted promotional rival Bellator, citing a previous article where he mentioned that he’d choose to make movies over fighting any time, any day. Rampage defends, “I was with the UFC, and I didn’t want to deal with that no more. Now I can do both. And they [Bellator] encourage me. And now I can do pro wrestling! Me and Dave, when we were in high school, we said we wanted to be pro wrestlers. We never said we’ll be MMA fighters. We also said we’ll marry Asian women!!!”
“Rampage” the pro wrestler debuted in TNA last June. And while we hardcore MMA fans might have raised our brows when we got word of this, the pro wrestling public’s reception was critical.
Digging deeper, I asked what the turning point was for him with his relationship to the UFC. “There’s a lot of reasons, but some of the stuff I really can’t talk about. But, things like you can’t have the sponsors that you like. We fighters, we don’t make a lot of money. It costs a lot of money to train, y’know? So we want to open up gyms and stuff, but the UFC sucks the life out of you and tells you, ‘You can’t have these sponsors.’ And then they bring their UFC gyms to your town, competing with your small gym. All we want as fighters is to have a little extra money. We’re the ones who put our body in harm’s way, getting injured, getting embarrassed on TV. Y’know it’s embarrassing to get knocked out! So yeah, they just suck the life out of you. I was already looking at retirement. That time, I didn’t want to fight no more.”
With this in mind, the obvious next question was how different is his current employer, Bellator, compared to the UFC? “Bellator, they understand their thing. The UFC got angry with me when I did ‘A-Team’. Bellator [says] like, ‘WHAT!? We want you to get more movies! The more movies you have, the more sponsors you get, the more people want to watch you fight and buy tickets.’ They just make it easier.”
As a fighter who has fought in both sides of the world for 12 storied years, I told “Rampage” about the current landscape of Philippine MMA, where promotions either build their fighters from the roots up or fly in contenders from around the world, and asked for his view on this. Rampage had this to say: “As a fighter, I feel I achieve more when I help build a promotion up. Unlike big promotions that take advantage of the little guy, y’know?” And “Rampage” has fought in the small and the big promotions. The biggest even. “The thing is when the UFC got big, everyone’s heads started to get big. Too big,” Rampage quipped.
To end our conversation, I asked him, “The media portrays you as a bad dude – someone you can’t mess with. As a person, how would you describe yourself?” “The best way to describe me is that I’m a big kid. I like to have fun. And what my grandma would say, I’m a teddy bear! A big teddy bear! I like to cuddle!” At this point, he may be addressing our female companions more. But seriously, between the verbal jabs we were throwing each other throughout the interview, I was surprised he didn’t maul me to death. (I have a rather rancid sense of humor, you see?) So yeah, “Rampage” – believe it or not – can take it as much as he gives it. And that’s a great characteristic for any person, all the more an MMA fighter.
I cannot thank KOTC Philippines chairman Ray Young enough for the opportunity to do this interview. For those who want to catch a glimpse and maybe take a photo with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, he’ll be part of the festivities as KOTC Philippines presents their first ever event “First Blood” this July 5, 2013 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. The after party happens in Solaire Resort & Casino.
RAMPAGE! MMAPhil.com Exclusive Interview with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
John Hudson Go is the Editor-in-Chief of MMA Philippines. He is also the Senior Sports and Music Events Writer for When In Manila.