The impact Quinton “Rampage” Jackson brings to Bellator


After months of being silent about his future, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson finally revealed what he’ll be doing in the upcoming future. In January, he lost to Glover Teixeira at UFC on Fox 6, which was the end of his great run in the UFC. Despite only having a record of 7-5, Jackson was very popular amongst MMA fans and every fight he fought in was massive. Here is the official press release from

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is taking his talents to Bellator.

 Jackson, who did not re-sign with the UFC following his unanimous decision loss to Glover Teixeira in January, has signed an exclusive contract with Bellator, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

According to those same sources, Jackson’s new deal will be similar to the one “King” Muhammed Lawal signed with the promotion last year, which gave him the opportunity to appear on TNA Impact Wrestling programming on Spike TV. Jackson has flirted with the idea of pursuing a pro wrestling career in the past, and it seems as though he will soon get a chance to showcase himself as a sports entertainer.

This was major news all across the Internet regarding MMA and pro wrestling fans. When you look at Jackson and his credentials, you have to be excited about this move. Jackson was such a popular fighter that was right there with so many elite fighters in the light heavyweight division.

He fought against the likes of Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Dan Henderson, Forrest Griffin, and current light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. The light heavyweight division was stacked and it was easily the best division in the UFC from 2009 to 2011. I’m not going to give you a background check of Jackson because many people are familiar of his credentials.

Now it’s clear that he’s past his prime and his best days are long behind him. Some fighters can fight at a high level until their upper 30’s like Mark Hunt, while others start to fade away in their low 30’s. It can revolve around age, along with the fact that you can only be one-dimensional for so long. That was always the knock on Jackson on how he never threw kicks or went for submissions. Eventually he became too predictable, which was one of the prime reasons Jon Jones beat him so handily in 2011.

As for his contract with Bellator, this is a massive move regardless of how you look at it. They are on the rise as an organization and many people are starting to watch it. Even though they are having getting negative publicity from the Eddie Alvarez situation, there is no doubt that this will draw people in to their events. The welterweight and lightweight divisions in Bellator are considered to have the most talented fighters that usually put on the best fights.

Now the light heavyweight division could be on the rise with Jackson, Lawal, and another UFC veteran Vladimir Matyushenko. Some may not care about past their prime veterans, but the majority that wants to see them fight will override that. The fans still want to see devastating knockouts and Jackson can still provide that.

After missing out on Josh Barnett, this was the best free agent they could have gotten. Barnett is still able to still fight at a high level, but Jackson is still more popular and can draw in more fans. Despite the major addition with Jackson, this still has to be looked at as a gamble by Bellator.

If you follow their tournaments closely, the fighters fight three fights in three months if they advance in the tournament. Jackson has struggled with injuries in the past few years, along with making the cut to 205 pounds. It remains to be seen if Jackson can take on that workload and fight in these tournaments against young fighters, who look at a matchup with him as the potential biggest win of their respective career.

The other major plot with the signing of Jackson is his friendship with Lawal. Last summer, they squashed the beef with each other and did a ten-minute interview together. Despite their friendship, I’m sure Bellator has to look at that matchup as a huge main event for the future. Lawal is a former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, who is known for being outspoken and charismatic just like Jackson. Lawal doesn’t have the fan base quite like Jackson, but he’s still widely popular.

Many Bellator fans see Michael Chandler versus Eddie Alvarez as the biggest potential fight to happen in Bellator. I’m pretty sure that has changed now knowing how fun a fight between Lawal and Jackson can be from the pre-fight hype to the actual fight. Before Chael Sonnen was a big deal, it was Quinton Jackson, who was the king at hyping fights and increasing pay-per-view buy rates with his mouth.

Both men will have to win fights though because Lawal is in a four man light heavyweight tournament this summer, while Jackson probably won’t debut until the fall. MMA will always be a sport, but it will always be a business as well. Bellator has been looking for a draw and they have just added one, who has proved that for years.

There is always a risk in bringing in a 34 year old fighter, who is considered injury prone and is notorious for complaining about anything or making excuses. Still this is a big name and when you are a promotion looking to become more popular, you have to make moves like these. Also, let’s not discount the fact that Jackson was miserable for the past two years in the UFC. He should be motivated and hungry to prove the critics wrong. It will be a new environment for him, which should make him happy.

As for his role within TNA, I’ll briefly talk about it only because he is involved with it. Remember this is an MMA website, not a pro-wrestling website.  I’m not sure how much he’ll actually wrestle, but he’ll help an organization that is losing money on a yearly basis and desperately needing a spark. King Mo wasn’t popular enough to provide a spark, which is why he barley got a reaction when he first debuted on Impact. With Jackson, you have a former champion, movie star, and all-around personality that most people have at least heard of.

TNA will never compete with WWE and Jackson shouldn’t be labeled as some potential savior. The transition into actually wrestling may be difficult especially at age 34, but it can be doable especially with TNA not having a hectic schedule like the WWE. He’ll be more of a special commodity rather than a full-time wrestler. With his ability to talk, there is no doubt that he can be an asset to TNA. His presence alone will make sure the current 0.8 rating increases. We will see how he affects the ratings tomorrow, when he is scheduled to debut according to TNA owner Dixie Carter.

 “#ImpactLIVE from Atlanta just got even hotter. Can confirm @Rampage4real will be at @GwinnettArena this THURS.” 

There are plenty of things that you can criticize Quinton Jackson about, but nobody could deny his star value. It will be proven in 2013, whether it’s in the octagon or in the ring as long as he remains healthy.

You can follow me on Twiter at @Allen_Strk or e-mail me at [email protected]. Also don’t forget to follow @MMASucka on twitter for all of the breaking news and updates.

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