In the long run, Quinton Jackson wants what anybody wants out of a career: Respect, appreciation and the occasional “thank you.”
And even though the former UFC light heavyweight champion is adamant that money doesn’t matter, getting paid market value for his services probably wouldn’t hurt, either.
On Monday, Rampage aired his grievances with the UFC to Bas Rutten in a candid interview on HDNet’s “Inside MMA,” expressing a desire to part ways with the promotion, perhaps even before his current contract expires. Jackson’s dissatisfaction with the promotion reached its apex following his loss to Ryan Bader at UFC 144 in Saitama, Japan, a bout in which the Memphis native says he fought while suffering from a knee injury.
“I don’t want to fight for the UFC anymore. Fans don’t understand. They think just because I make a lot of money that I should be happy because I’ve got a nice house. But I’ve always stated that I fight for money because that’s my career,” Jackson said. “The thing is, the UFC knew I was injured [going into UFC 144], and they knew I still fought for them. Honestly, I feel like if I didn’t fight on that card in Japan I don’t think the appeal would have been as big. I feel like if I would have pulled out with an injury, I don’t think they would have done as well in Japan as they did.”
Jackson came in five pounds overweight for his Jan. 25 confrontation with Bader and looked subpar in dropping a unanimous decision to the Power MMA representative. The former Arizona State University wrestler controlled the majority of the contest on the mat, as Rampage struggled to overcome his opponent’s consistently dominant positioning. Jackson feels that the matchmaking was designed to make him look bad.
“I didn’t like the opponent that they were giving me. I think Joe Silva needs to be slapped in the face. I’m sorry, but if you’ve got a fighter like me who likes to go out and put on fights, why are you gonna give me wrestlers who are gonna take me down and hump me?” he said.
The longtime Pride Fighting Championships standout also asserted that he wasn’t properly recognized by his employer for fighting at less than 100 percent.
“I think that the UFC should say thank you to Rampage. This is my first time ever not making weight. They could tell that something was wrong. In my whole career I’ve always been respectful to everybody and made weight,” he said. “Why would I want to give 20 percent of my purse for not making weight?”
Jackson attributes some of his weight issues to the testosterone replacement therapy he received prior to the fight. The 33-year-old admitted to undergoing the treatment and believes that it would have had positive effects on his performance had he not been injured.
“I did use TRT, because my doctor prescribed it to me, because my [testosterone] levels were low, and he said it would help me heal up my knee. I never backed off those statements, not once. I didn’t even have to give that information. I chose to give it, because a lot of people out there are cheating with steroids and stuff, and some people are even abusing TRT, and I choose not to,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing if fighters don’t abuse it.
“I saw a big difference right away,” Jackson continued. “It was very beneficial to me in my training. I felt like a 25-year-old again. If my knee wasn’t injured, you guys would have seen a new fighter. I’m hoping that my knee heals up pretty soon. I keep doing exactly what the doctor asks me to do, and I’ll add 10 more years to my fighting life.”
Where those 10 hypothetical years take place is anyone’s guess. While Jackson doesn’t appear interested in setting foot in the Octagon anytime soon, he made it clear that he is not done with fighting.
“I wish I didn’t have one more fight for them; I’m trying to get out of this one fight. ...Fans think that the UFC is the only show in town. I don’t care about money. I got money saved up and money in other places. If you think I made all my money with the UFC you’re wrong,” he said. “The UFC talks about how they’re in a billion homes and they’re making all this money, and yet I’m making less money than I used to make with the UFC.”
For Jackson, the solution to his current beef with the UFC is simple: The organization hasn’t appreciated his contributions over the years, so it might be best to sever the existing ties.
“After [my last fight] I was like, ‘I’m not putting my life on the line for these guys no more.’ They know what’s going on, but they’re still trying to make me look bad. They’re trying to make me lose my fan base,” Jackson said. “I don’t want to be part of the UFC. If Dana doesn’t want me to be bigger than the UFC, then let me go. If they feel like I lost my appeal, then let me go.”