Quinton Jackson is apparently headed back to the Octagon. Just how long it takes him to get there could be the real battle.
Following an initial report from Sherdog.com, the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced that it had re-signed the former light heavyweight titlist during the broadcast of UFC Fight Night “Machida vs. Dollaway” card in Brazil on Saturday. Later, “Rampage” appeared on Fox Sports Live via telephone to attempt to explain why he was returning to the promotion he had been at odds with nearly two years earlier.
“I haven’t been happy with my contract at Bellator for a while -- since after the pay-per-view with the ‘King Mo’ fight,” Jackson said. “Bjorn Rebney, I don’t know what happened. He left Bellator, got fired, I don’t know. The contract just wasn’t right. My manager and I, we were trying to fix it, but Bellator didn’t want to fix it in 45 days.
“I terminated the contract. I sent a tweet out because I was upset about how things were going in MMA and how fighters get treated. I guess [UFC President] Dana White saw it so he responded to it. My manager started talking to him and here we go.”
The tweet Jackson mentions was sent from his account on Nov. 17:
Just a thought.. But I've learned a big lesson in life and business: sometimes u should just stay with the devil u know @ufc— Quinton Jackson (@Rampage4real) November 18, 2014
While “Rampage” has blasted the UFC and White in the past, he seemed to have softened his stance on Saturday night.
“Me and Dana White, we haven’t even spoke,” Jackson said. “We was always cool. It was always just business. I didn’t like the way the UFC kind of painted a picture like I retired, like I got cut from the UFC. I didn’t take it personally. I don’t take business personally most of the time. I never had any bad blood with Dana White. I just wish that things were a little bit different.”
Whether Jackson is actually free from his Bellator contract is a matter of opinion. Earlier in the evening, Bellator President Scott Coker tweeted that Jackson “is under exclusive contract with Bellator MMA. We will protect our contractual rights.”
MMAFighting.com reported that Jackson exercised his right to terminate his Bellator contract because the promotion failed to provide the pay-per-view numbers for his fight against Lawal this past May. That fight occurred when Rebney was in charge at Bellator; Coker took over the promotion in June.
Regardless of who is at the helm, Jackson doesn’t appear interested in mending fences with Bellator.
“It’s just one of those things where people don’t honor their contract, and it’s just not cool,” he said. “The UFC did honor their contract no matter what things went wrong with them. You sign a contract for a reason. Do what you say you’re gonna do. If you can’t honor your contract then that’s the type of company I don’t really want to be associated with.”
Jackson left the UFC following a loss to decision loss to Glover Teixeira at UFC on Fox 6 in January 2013, his third straight with the Las Vegas-based organization. “Rampage” won his first three bouts with Bellator, scoring first-round knockouts of Joey Beltran and Christian M’Pumbu before outpointing Lawal in his last outing.
The Memphis, Tenn., native would like to return to action early next year if everything falls into place.
“I want to come back and fight as soon as possible. I’ve been missing the training camps and missing getting out there,” he said. “I only got three more years left in me. I want to put on some more exciting fights. I’m sure I’ll be fighting early in 2015.”