“I’m not like Randy Couture. My body has been getting so many different injuries that I wont be able to fight until my forties and neither do I want to fight that long. So I feel like my second career could be in jeopardy, so I’m done fighting.” – Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson
In an unexpected turn of events one of the UFC’s biggest stars Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson has stated on his website that he is to retire from Mixed Martial Arts competition in order to pursue his acting career. The 31 year old who holds a professional record of 30-7 is currently appearing as one of the team coaches, opposite Rashad Evans, on the 10th series of The Ultimate Fighter reality show which drew record viewing figures in the U.S. for it’s season premiere last week.
A much anticipated fight between the two coaches had been scheduled for the end of the year but Jackson pulled out after finally securing a role as B.A Baracus in a Hollywood remake of hit 80’s TV show The A-Team. This move caused considerable friction between the former UFC Light Heavyweight champion and the organisations president Dana White who was quick to express his anger and dissapointment with the turn of events, stating that fighting, not acting should be Jackson’s first priority.
With the fight seemingly postponed until early 2010, the news that Jackson has now decided to call time on his fighting career is sending shockwaves around the MMA community. Reacting to the news on The Carmichael Dave Show Dana White fell short of launching into a full scale condemnation of Jackson’s decision, saying that he wished him well but restated his belief that Rampage, a friend of White’s, “doesn’t always make the best decisions” and that it was a “bad move”.
Quinton Jackson is no stranger to controversy. Last July, days after losing his Light Heavyweight belt to Forrest Griffin, he was arrested for a hit and run incident which resulted in a 3 mile chase with the police. He was briefly detained under the Mental Health Act for evaluation but was later released. He would eventually plead guilty to the charges with a deal being negotiated to allow him to avoid jail time. Dana White supported the fighter throughout the ordeal, even flying to see Jackson when he first heard news that he had been arrested.
This latest news is undoubtedly a major blow for the UFC who will be losing one of their best known and most bankable fighters. Jackson’s larger than life personality and explosive KO power in the Octagon proved to be a winning combination winning him a legion of fans, and despite the unfortunate timing of his upcoming movie they may been set to benefit from it in the longer term due to the new fans such a role would likely bring to the sport.
The real question now is whether this really is the end of the fighter career. A lot will hinge on the success of his fledgling acting career. Whilst his current role may be the spring-board to bigger and better things there are no guarantees in Hollywood. As Dana White himself pointed out, what did the original A-Team show ever do for Mr T’s acting career? White has wisely refused to burn his bridges with the star and, with the door seemingly still open for his return, the smart money is on Jackson returning to the UFC to resume his orginal choice of career at a later date.