It’s official, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson has signed for Bellator Fighting Championships and in addition will also feature in Spike TV’s TNA Wrestling show as well.
The former UFC light-heavyweight champion, who’s agreed to a multi-year deal, will now become Bellator’s most high profile signing to date by some distance and follows in the footsteps of his one-time rival Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal who was the first to sign a deal to fight both in MMA and pro-wrestling at the same time.
“Rampage is a true superstar both inside and outside the MMA cage” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “The partnership that we’ve created with Quinton is unlike anything that’s ever been done in the sports & entertainment arena and Rampage is the perfect athlete/entertainer to carry it off.”
The landmark deal, delivered in conjunction with Spike TV, will also provide a reality-style show featuring ‘Rampage’ in the lead-up to his first fight for the promotion.
At the peak of his fame back in 2007, ‘Rampage’ featured in one of the most watched fights in MMA history on Spike TV against Dan Henderson at UFC 75 which peaked with nearly six million viewers.
Spike TV will be hoping that he can deliver some of that ratings magic for Bellator, though times have changed and ‘Rampage’ is coming off a three-fight losing streak in the UFC.
Nevertheless, he still has genuine star power and his outspoken, charismatic persona ensures that he’ll generate the kind of media attention that Bellator have been missing up until this point.
If ‘Rampage’ can rediscover his form inside the cage and his passion for fighting in general then this could be a major move for Bellator.
That’s a big ‘if‘ though. We’ve seen this before, most recently with Strikeforce who spent a lot of money bringing Fedor Emelianenko into the fold – a move which never quite paid off.
‘Rampage’ is in a similar position – a costly star in the twilight of his career who brings some baggage with him (in Fedor’s case in the form of his management M-1 Global and in ‘Rampage’s case his volatile personality) so this is a gamble.
Nevertheless, Bellator do have Viacom backing them, and they have deep pockets so it appears they are willing to roll the dice and see what happens.