If you think that 11-year MMA veteran Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (31-8) is bored with the fight game or is reaching a point where his drive is waning, the Memphis born fighter makes it clear that he doesn’t give a damn about what you or anyone else thinks of him. Never has, never will. His “I don’t give a fuck” attitude is a quality that is endearing to many fight fans but has drawn the ire of his opponents – in particular African American fighters.
Last year, Rampage and Rashad Evans were embroiled in a heated war of words, exchanging barbs as coaches on Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter” and bubbling over into a highly anticipated fight that had everyone talking. But it was Evans saying that Rampage was “perpetuating negative stereotypes of black men” that caused the rift to reach a boiling point.
Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal also engaged in a war of words with Jackson, citing Rampage’s black-on-black crime comments as being ignorant and distasteful. But Rampage says that it isn’t he who has the problems with other fighters. He feels that it is the other way around.
“Some people have problems with themselves. Just because I’m black, does that mean I have to act a certain way?” Jackson asks as his frustration with the situation becomes apparent. “Rashad tried to call me an Uncle Tom. The people who are intelligent and want to walk around and tell everybody how intelligent they are, I think that’s stupid actually. You’re showing your whole deck of cards.”
Although he is clearly frustrated with their comments, don’t think that Rampage wants to make amends with them. He’d rather sock them in the face than shake their hands. For Jackson, haters come with the territory.
“You’re always going to have people who hate and try to discredit you no matter what. I don’t lose any sleep over it. I don’t give a fuck about Queen Mo or Rashad. I don’t give a fuck what they say.”
What he does give a fuck about is taking care of business against rising light heavyweight star Matt Hamill when the two meet in the main event of UFC 130 on May 28th. Despite his seemingly nonchalant attitude towards the fight (“I should beat Matt Hamill in an exciting fashion,” he says dismissively), Jackson will be well prepared come Saturday night.
“It’s my job,” he says.
For a decade he’s made a career out of pummeling foes unconscious. But anybody can get bored with their day gig – even if you are punching people in the face for a living. A rambunctious personality like Rampage can become uninterested with the rinse and repeat lifestyle of training, interviewing and fighting. But there’s something that keeps the former UFC light heavyweight champion motivated when it comes to throwing fisticuffs with guys trying to add his already legendary name to their resume. “I fight in front of millions of people. I don’t want to get my ass whooped in front of millions of people, do I? I train hard to go out there and perform to the best of my ability on that night. That’s the hunger I have right there.”