The interview you see here with the UFC's Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and reporter Karyn Bryant from MMAHeat.com is an embarrassing exchange between a professional athlete and a credentialed member of the media -- exactly the kind of thing the UFC needs to avoid if it wants to be taken seriously as a mainstream sport.
The interview starts with Bryant asking Jackson about his UFC 130 victory over Matt Hamill. And then it turns into something very different than the typical post-fight interview -- and very different from anything even approaching an appropriate exchange between a journalist and a subject.
Here's the transcript of the key portion:
Jackson: "I be loving me some black women. Are you black?"
Bryant: "Part, yeah."
Jackson: "I love all parts of you, even the black part. What other part are you?"
Bryant: "I'm Jamaican, black and white."
Jackson: "She's Jamaican me horny."
Bryant: (laughs) "I know you got to get to your party. Thank you, congratulations."
Jackson: "She's hot. That's why I gave her the interview -- she's hot."
Bryant: "Thank you, Rampage."
Jackson: "I want to motorboat. On camera."
With that, Jackson proceeded to stick his face in Bryant's cleavage and pretend to "motorboat" her. To call that crossing the line would be incorrect: This behavior is so far beyond the line that Jackson wouldn't have been able to see the line.
Bryant wrote on Twitter that she thought the incident was funny, but Bryant being OK with her encounter with Jackson doesn't make it acceptable. Jackson and Bryant are two people in their workplaces. At your office, would it be OK if two people behaved the way Jackson and Bryant did in this interview?
Actions like this contribute to an atmosphere that can make other reporters feel uncomfortable, and it's particularly troubling that Jackson would say, "That's why I gave her the interview -- she's hot," suggesting that female reporters who are credentialed to UFC events will be granted access based on whether UFC fighters find them attractive.
This isn't the first time Jackson has acted in such a way. In 2009 he "dry humped" reporter Heather Nichols, who later said she was bothered by the way Jackson treated her. He gave a female reporter in Japan similar treatment several years ago.
Behavior like this should not be tolerated. When some players on the New York Jets made suggestive comments toward a female reporter last year -- and none of those comments came close to what Jackson does in this video -- the NFL was quick to act, mandating league-wide training in appropriate workplace conduct. The UFC should give similar training to its fighters.
Jackson is one of the most interesting personalities in MMA. He can be funny, gregarious, charismatic and charming. But he can also be a jerk. This interview was an example of the latter, even if it made the interviewer laugh.
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