Quinton Jackson hasn’t been happy with the UFC lately, and he’s not hesitating to let everyone know.
For better or worse, “Rampage” tends to say what’s on his mind.
“To be honest, my manager told me I need to learn to keep my mouth shut,” Jackson said Friday on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show.” “He actually told me that this morning. I can say this … it all boils down to this: The UFC is promoting the UFC. They’re looking out for themselves. I feel like they promote their brand more than they promote the fighters.”
Jackson explained that he actually doesn’t disagree with the UFC promoting its brand.
“I feel them on that because anything that happens to a fighter -- and [a fighter] can just be gone, get hurt -- and they put all this money into promoting this fighter, then they ain’t got no product no more,” Jackson said. “I understand that. I just want the UFC to understand that I have to promote my own brand.”
The former UFC light heavyweight champion said his goal is to be the “most marketable fighter ever.” However, he believes he’s made some decisions that put the promotion first at his own expense, such as fighting injured against Ryan Bader at UFC 144. He lost that fight via unanimous decision, and afterward UFC President Dana White questioned his interest in the sport.
“I just feel like the UFC knows when I’m injured, but at the same time, when I don’t pull out of a fight and I still fight, I think they should basically more than thank me,” Jackson said. “In my opinion, I feel like Dana kind of disrespected me a little bit by saying the three words that he did say.”
Jackson traced his issues with the UFC all the way back to his decision to delay a fight against Rashad Evans. Both were coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter,” but Jackson put off their matchup to play B.A. Baracus in the 2010 film “The A-Team.”
“I know I messed up the relationship by doing the movie over fighting Rashad Evans,” Jackson said. “It was my fault. I’ve got to keep it real. I did that. I messed up. I should have honored my contract and fought Rashad after ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ … Before that Dana and I was really cool. I was really cool with the UFC, Lorenzo [Fertitta] and everybody. We were all cool, but I messed up the relationship by doing the movie and I’m aware of that.”
The film was important to Jackson, though. He grew up watching the 1980s television show of the same name, which starred Mr. T in the Baracus role.
“I think I’m a lot like him probably because he influenced me so much,” Jackson said of the Baracus character. “I used to watch that show with my dad when my dad and my mom was married. My dad was my king. I looked up to him, and that’s how we bonded. We used to watch ‘A-Team’ together all the time. When my dad and my mom got divorced, those were the only memories I had. … I wanted to make my dad proud and show him that, ‘Look, Dad. I can be B.A. Baracus like we used to watch.’ I brought my dad on set, and he was so happy and everything. I did that for me and my childhood. I couldn’t pass it up, but I don’t think the UFC understood that.”
That’s the gist of Jackson’s gripe with the UFC: He believes he understands the promotion’s point of view, but the promotion doesn’t understand his.
“You can’t fight forever,” he said. “There’s no MMA pension. I’ve got a whole lot of other stuff going. I’ve got a lot of revenue coming in from other ways and I know that the UFC has opened up doors for that, but I was who I was before I even came to the UFC. But once the UFC got real popular and mainstream, it opened up a lot of doors for me and I’m thankful to the UFC for that. I’m just kind of [upset] about some other things.”
In addition to fighting, Jackson said he’s making music, writing movies, designing video games and also drawing income from his two gyms. He doesn’t expect to fight in the UFC much more, though. After he undergoes surgery on both knees, he’ll meet Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in what could be his final bout in the Octagon.
“I want to rematch everybody who’s done kicked my ass,” Jackson said. “I’ve been asking for Forrest [Griffin] for years. I don’t know how come that never happened, but I’d rather fight Shogun first and then Forrest because Shogun, I’ve been wanting to revenge that loss for years. That fight haunted me for years. So yeah, I want to fight Shogun. It’s perfect. I’m happy with that and I plan on that being my last fight in the UFC.”
As for fighting outside of the UFC, Jackson mentioned as possibilities Bellator Fighting Championships, King of the Cage or “whoever wants to promote me like I should be promoted.” He isn’t worried about finding opposition either.
“If there ain’t nobody for me to fight, then I won’t fight,” Jackson said. “I don’t have to fight no more. That’s what the fans don’t understand. I’ve got other stuff going on.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:06:00).