Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Many words have been used to describe Quinton "Rampage" Jackson over the years: Controversial, outspoken, hard hitting, and perhaps a few that aren’t fit to print.
But when UFC president Dana White looks back on the career of the former light heavyweight champion, two words come to his mind: Wasted potential.
"I think he could have been so much better if he applied himself," White said Tuesday. "He had all the tools. Incredible chin, knockout power in both hands, incredible charisma and personality.
"Tell me Rampage Jackson wasn’t born to fight. Not only in his power, but his attributes, his wrestling, his chin, the list goes on and on."
So why wasn't Jackson's career, which included unifying the UFC and PRIDE 205-pound titles, all it could be? White wouldn’t call Rampage’s Hollywood dalliances a distraction and even complemented him on his acting career.
"If you look at the only movie he ever acted in, "The A-Team," he did a great job in that movie," White said. "If you look at all the guys who have tried to cross over into acting, Rampage is the only one who has ever done a good job at it. He’s actually a really good actor."
Rather, it’s been the periods in which Jackson has gone off the rails which, well, caused him to go off the rails: The infamous Orange County car chase; the various times he’s quit; and his recent series of Twitter outbursts after his UFC 144 loss to Ryan Bader.
"He’s crazy," said White. "Rampage takes losses really hard, and, I don’t know, we’ll just see what happens, see how this thing plays out."
"His potential could have been so much more. This is a crazy business, you always have these guys who think they’re getting screwed and this and that and everything else that’s happening. ‘Rampage’ wants to fight one more fight on his contract, and his last fight, and he’ll never make that money ever again for the rest of his life. A lot of those guys in the UFC don’t realize that until its too late."
If you thought concerns for Chael Sonnen’s safety getting in and out of Brazil were overblown, think again.
Sonnen and White were in Rio de Janeiro for Tuesday’s announcement that Sonnen’s rematch with Anderson Silva was being moved from the champion’s home country to the loaded UFC 148 card in Las Vegas on July 7. White detailed the level of security that was needed to get the controversial challenger out in one piece.
"With the stuff he said and everything else, we made sure we had proper security," White said. "We had seven guys with us who do this for a living. We mapped out the whole route. We literally landed at the airport in Rio, went through customs, then jumped on helicopters that took us right through to the hotel. I came in the front door and we put him through the side door, had him in a holding room."
Sonnen, of course, has a history of making outrageous comments about Brazil in general and Brazilian fighters in specific. Even though he was in hostile territory, Sonnen didn’t do much to defuse the situation.
"You know those disguises with the mustaches and the glasses you get at a joke shop?" White asked. "He had one of those on and he said ‘you wonder how I got into this country, this was my disguise.’ He says, ‘everyone was asking me if I was one of the Nogueira brothers, and the people were asking, which Nogueira brother was I, the fat one or the bald one? The one that was good or the one that was never good?’"
When a post-press conference media scrum with Sonnen starting going south, said White, they knew it was time to get the mouthy middleweight from Oregon out the door.
"We did a scrum with him, the reporters were getting really aggressive. Someone got him with a shock pen, all kinds of stuff like that. He went out the side door, I went out the front door, we got back in the helicopters, got him back through customs, got him on a plane, and got him out of there."
White is among the many who are vocal about problems with MMA’s current 10-point must scoring system. But don’t expect him to advocate for a system which will allow the option of half-point scoring any time soon.
The UFC boss was raving over the draw between Ian McCall and Demetrious Johnson at UFC 144 in the the flyweight tournament semifinals when he launched into a tangent about half-point scoring.
The bout was announced in the cage as a split decision in favor of Johnson. Later, it was discovered the bout was actually a draw, which should have meant a fourth round to break the tie and determine who would go on to the finals. But since the this was discovered well after the fact, the UFC had to make a rematch, which will be held on June 8.
"That fight should have gone another round," White said. "How sick would that have been? Oh my god that drives me nuts. And, what’s even crazier, that’s the way the judges had it, but the guys added it wrong. Sick fight, incredible fight. Ends up its a draw, but the guy added the scores wrong.
“So then people ask me after that, ‘What do you think about the half-point system?’ They can’t add the [expletive] whole numbers right! You want to put half a point in there? [Expletive] every show would be [expletive] up! You want to throw fractions at them now? Three [expletive] rounds with whole numbers and you want to throw [expletive] fractions in there. Unbelievable.”
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