The mercurial Quinton Jackson has signed again with the UFC and announced the news Saturday night at UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Dollaway in an interview on the FOX Sports 1 broadcast. "Rampage" had been competing for Bellator MMA and is still under contract with the organization, Bellator president Scott Coker tweeted. He has not been released.
Coker said that Bellator will "protect our contractual rights."
Let us be clear that Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is under an exclusive contract with #BellatorMMA. We will protect our contractual rights— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) December 21, 2014
According to sources close to the situation, Jackson is claiming Bellator was contracted to supply the pay-per-view numbers for his fight against Muhammed Lawal in May, however, Bellator refused to do that so Jackson exercised his right to terminate the contract.
"I can assure you that if the UFC signed him, the UFC feels optimistic and confident that he’s in a position to be signed. If there’s any issue, I’m sure they will figure that out as the days go on," UFC chief content officer Marshall Zelaznik said during the UFC Fight Night 58 post-fight press conference Saturday.
Jackson remains one of the most well-known names in MMA. He's a former UFC light heavyweight champion and 2003 PRIDE middleweight grand prix runner-up. "Rampage" has victories in his career over the likes of Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida, Wanderlei Silva and Dan Henderson.
"I belong here," Jackson said of the UFC during the fight broadcast.
Jackson, 36, did not leave the UFC under good terms. He lost three straight in the organization and his contract was up after a unanimous decision defeat against Glover Teixeira on Jan. 26, 2013. Jackson signed with Bellator in June 2013, slamming the UFC for killing the sport of MMA and ruining his brand.
As recently as October, "Rampage" blasted the UFC for not paying him enough money and lying about how much he was compensated. UFC president Dana White, who has had an up-and-down relationship with Jackson over the years, said last year that "Rampage" had made $15.2 million between 2007 and 2012 in the UFC.
"If I had just quit fighting for the UFC and retired, I wouldn't be able to retire for the rest of my life," Jackson told Fight Hub TV. "I don't think so just because of how many kids I've got and what I plan on doing. Especially not off my MMA money; not after you pay your taxes, coaches, manager their percentage, you don't walk away with the number that they (UFC) say that they pay you. The UFC put out a big number that I made over the years, and honestly I don't believe that it's true. They lie about a lot of stuff. It is just propaganda."
Jackson (35-11), though, began to change his tune publicly last month when he tweeted "sometimes u should just stay with the devil u know," referring to the UFC. "Rampage" was reportedly unhappy with Bellator's leadership change from Bjorn Rebney to Coker.
Just a thought.. But I've learned a big lesson in life and business: sometimes u should just stay with the devil u know @ufc— Quinton Jackson (@Rampage4real) November 18, 2014
"You guys have no idea how excited I am to be back," Jackson said on FOX Sports 1. "I just want to come back and come to the big show. The thing about Rampage is, Rampage always comes to excite the fans. I love the fans."
Jackson's signing was first mentioned on a Sherdog forum two days ago.
In Bellator, Jackson won three straight, including a unanimous decision victory over rival Muhammed Lawal at Bellator 120 in May. He was set to fight for the Bellator light heavyweight title next, but it's currently held by his friend and training partner Emanuel Newton.
Jackson was not a part of Bellator's big event headlined by Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar on Nov. 15 in San Diego. He was initially supposed to face Ortiz in both of their Bellator debuts in November 2013 until Ortiz got hurt.