Quinton Jackson might be just a few days away from his final Octagon appearance, but it appears that “Rampage” still has plenty of appeal outside of the cage.
On Tuesday, Reebok held a press conference in Chicago to announce that it had inked the former UFC light heavyweight king to an endorsement deal. The company has already released a video with Jackson marketing its ATV 19+ -- or “All Terrain Vehicle” -- training shoes.
However, Jackson will not be allowed to wear Reebok apparel to the cage on Saturday when he faces Glover Teixeira at UFC on Fox 6 in Chicago. Make that just one more thing on a laundry list of gripes Jackson has against the UFC.
“I’m sponsored by Reebok and the UFC says I can’t wear Reebok in the cage. Stupid stuff like that,” Jackson said during a recent conference call. “It’s not about money it’s about respect. I’d rather take a money cut to go to another show and get appreciated. I’m sponsored by Reebok, just not allowed to wear it in the cage. I can’t wear Reebok while I fight.”
If Jackson is to be believed, there is very little chance of the fighter returning to the Las Vegas-based promotion after his current contract ends on Saturday night. Where he chooses to take his talents next – be it Bellator or elsewhere – remains a mystery, but Reebok is happy with its newest sneaker pitchman.
"We think his personality will transcend where he is at," Reebok head of U.S. marketing John Lynch said in an interview with Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports . "I understand the UFC is the 800-pound gorilla in this sport. We get that. But we believe he's got a tremendous amount of juice on his own. He's a guy people have looked to as someone who transcends the sport that he's in. He has appeal simply beyond [fighting] and we just liked the fit of who he is."
Jackson’s larger-than-life persona can only take him so far. Consumers generally prefer their athlete pitchmen to be successful in their chosen fields, and it will only enhance Jackson’s marketability if he can leave the UFC on a high note.