Quinton Jackson made it clear that he was unhappy fighting for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) the last few years. However, "Rampage" knows that when a relationship is troubled, it more than likely means that both parties involved need to assume responsibility.
During the Bellator MMA media conference call last week, Jackson said he was glad to finally be free from the shackles of the ZUFFA-owned mixed martial arts (MMA) organization and thrilled to be working within a promoter who "gets it" like Bjorn Rebney.
Even though Jackson is moving forward with the latest chapter in his extensive combat sports career, the former UFC Light Heavyweight champion today looked back at his tumultuous relationship with company Dana White, admitting that he was partially to blame for the tension.
Jackson, who has already embarked on a new hybrid adventure with Spike TV, Bellator and Viacom, broke it down during a recent appearance on "The MMA Hour:"
"I doubt he'll (Dana White) miss me at all. I'm pretty sure I was a thorn in UFC's side for awhile. I did everything in my power to fix the relationship. Honestly, I was wrong doing "The A-Team" movie because I was scheduled to fight Rashad in Memphis. That was a hard decision for me. I know I messed up by doing that. That's why I didn't pull out of that fight in Japan (February 26, 2012, against Ryan Bader) when I was injured. I wanted to show Dana that I still got his back and I thought I could beat Bader even with an injury. So I thought I was going to try to fix this relationship, but then that made it worse. Because Dana was saying face to face that everything was cool, but then talked shit behind my back for not making weight and said a few things in the press. That was the straw the broke the camel's back. That's when I knew there was no repairing that relationship and that's the day I decided to say I am going to leave the UFC."
And while he admits pulling out of his bout against Evans in his hometown, Memphis, Tenn., wasn't his best career move as far as UFC was concerned, passing up on a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a blockbuster film really wasn't an option.
"I'm in a lot better place. It's hard to explain. When you're sweating tears and they won't let you have sponsors, they tax the sponsors, you want to make a movie, man, we're human beings, a lot of people would give their left leg to do a movie. 'The A-Team,' B.A. Baracus, he was an icon for my people for a lot of years. A lot of people were up for that role, I felt like I was trying to further my career. You can't fight forever. I took a lot of heat for that. The UFC didn't see the big picture, but Bellator said, 'We'll get you movies. We'll get you sponsors. Do all the movies you want. It's better for the brand for the sport. So it's a good thing."'
But, don't think "Rampage" has all bad things to say about his former employer; admitting UFC is a "good company," but when it comes to looking out for the fighters themselves, the world's pre-eminent MMA organization lacks in that department.
"I didn't say it was all bad. I always said the UFC is a good company and it's a good brand. I just say that they watch out for their own brand. They don't really watch out for the fighters. They cut fighters left and right. We got kids. A lot of people forget that fighters are humans. We have families to take care of. We have bills. If you just cut a fighter, what is he going to do, where is he going to go?"
Jackson revealed he was indeed offered another deal by UFC, but didn't bother mulling it over because he knew he wanted out.
Luckily, unbeknownst to him, Bellator MMA was waiting in the wings to scoop him up and offer him things White and Co. tried to prevent him from having such as a career in Hollywood and a pro wrestler.
All is well that ends well ... for now.