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Why Rampage Jackson believes American fans are the ‘worst’

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LOS ANGELES -- Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has fought on three continents over his long mixed martial arts career. In the process, he was exposed to a wide variety of fight fans.

But when the former UFC light heavyweight champion steps into the cage with Chael Sonnen in the first round of the Bellator heavyweight tournament on Jan. 20 in Inglewood, Calif., he won’t be competing for his favorite audience.

The way Jackson sees it, fans in the United States are the worst in mixed martial arts.

“I’ve fought a couple different places in the world,” Jackson told reporters on Wednesday. “I love America, I’m American, but I have to say that American fans are the worst. I have to say it. They can get mad at me. I said it, and it’s something they can work on.”

Jackson believes American fans are quicker to turn on fighters than around the rest of the world, and that their negativity is amplified on social media.

“In America, you’ve got a lot of fair-weather fans, who be cheering for you hard and as soon as you lose a fight, you’re a bum and then they come at you on social media and they give you a lot of slack.”

Jackson contrasts this to his experiences in Japan, where he has some of the best memories of his fighting career from the days he competed in PRIDE.

“When I was fighting in Japan, we didn’t have social media, and if they did talk shit on me, it was in Japanese, so I wouldn’t have known anyway,” Jackson said. “So I still have that type of fighting spirit, I’m still, when I’m fighting for the Japanese fans, when I go there and fight, I want to give an exciting fight, no matter what. I risk losing all the time just to excite the fans. But in America, the fighters are game planning and they’re scared to make mistakes, and everything is super methodical and they fight just to win, they don’t fight to entertain, and it’s making for boring fights a lot.”

Jackson used his decision loss to “King Mo” Lawal at Bellator 175, a rematch of a bout Jackson won via decision three years prior, as an example.

“Fans turn on me whenever I lose a fight,” Jackson said. “Or even my last fight with King Mo, I thought that was a really close fight, all my fights with King Mo were really close. ... I didn’t get my hand raised, but the fans talked crap, they talked sh*t, when they can’t do half of what we do. They probably couldn’t even make it through a training camp, nevermind get in there and fight another man.”

“Rampage” finished his critique with a bit of constructive advice, saying that fans can use social media to pick fighters up when they suffer defeats.

“If you’re a fan of a fighter, as soon as they lose, don’t jump ship. That’s when a fighter needs their fans the most. So lift him back up, tell him to get back in the gym and train harder, not jump ship and talk sh*t about us.”