Last night's UFC card showed us that Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is no longer the intimidating 205-pounder that put down Chuck Liddell to earn a UFC title in 2007.
But even before his fight against light heavyweight phenom Glover Teixeira took place, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney had his hesitations when considering "Rampage" as a free-agent acquisition.
"That would be one of those square-peg-round-hole situations," Rebney recently told Yahoo! Sports. "I don't think he would deny he's at the latter stages of his career. He's not in the infancy or even in the middle portion of his career."
In the weeks heading into the FOX card, Jackson made it abundantly clear that last night would the last time fans would see him in the Octagon. "Rampage" cited a lack of respect from UFC brass, among other things, that pushed him to make the decision not to re-sign with the Las Vegas-based fight promotion.
Jackson said on a recent media call that the UFC offered him a renegotiated contract, but he didn't want it. From the sounds of it, it wasn't the numbers that were unsatisfactory because UFC president Dana White reportedly said the fighter has made over $15 million since joining the company. Instead, it's a simple dislike of the organization for how it treats its employees.
"The UFC doesn't know how to treat its athletes," Jackson said last week. "I don't want to renegotiate with them."
Regardless of past performances, what else does "Rampage" have to offer MMA fans now? Sure, he's been exciting before, but it's tough to say he had that same effect last night against Glover Teixeira. By the third round, takedowns looked as though they could've been done by bumping into Jackson.
If you ask "Rampage", however, he'll tell you he still has something to offer. As he said on Fuel TV last night following his loss, the fighter's sales pitch will be the excitement factor.
"Hey, I'll put on a great show for you," he said. "If anyone picks me up, that's my marketing pitch."
But will anybody buy that? Likely not Bellator.
"How he can conceptually fit in the structure that we have -- that would be [a question] I would have to get smarter people than I to sit down around a table and discuss," Rebney said.
So if Bellator doesn't pick up the aging light heavyweight, who will? It's safe to say that Jackson still has a huge following in Japan. Maybe he can go back to where he found his stardom and live off the reputation he built in the early stages of his career. After all, Bob Sapp still does it.
The other option would be to go the Ken Shamrock/Dan Severn route and make a go at the WWE. If entertaining people is what Jackson is all about now, then pro wrestling might not be that bad of an idea -- regardless what you think of "fake fighting," as it has been referred to in the past.
In any case, Rampage's UFC days now appear behind him. The history that the fighter and the promotion have is one with contempt and bitterness, so you'll never see "Rampage" in a front office role like Matt Hughes or Chuck Liddell. You probably won't see him along side Chael Sonnen and Dominick Cruz in an analyst role, either.
"Rampage" is now a middle of the road fighter by his own admittance. A gatekeeper, if you will. Someone like that probably won't ever see a belt around his waist again, but that's not to say he's completely washed up. At 34 years old, he still has some usable years ahead of him. What he uses those years for is still up in the air, but they'll likely not be spent in a Bellator cage on Spike TV.
A-Team sequel, anyone?
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