Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson missed weight for his fight with Ryan Bader by an enormous five pounds, something unheard of for the former UFC and Pride champion. Already beset by allegations that he was not taking the fight seriously, the weight-miss was taken as proof positive that he did not care about the bout or respect Bader as an opponent.
In the week prior to the fight, Jackson had caused a storm by slamming UFC commentator Joe Rogan. He accused Rogan of biased commentary and said that he always had negative comments to make about Jackson’s techniques and overall game. All in all, the days preceding the fight were not vintage for Jackson.
Then the fight itself went 15 minutes and apart from one or two sparks - including a trademark slam - it was something of an anti-climax and Jackson was again criticised - by fans - for displaying a limited repertoire. Stung by this criticism, and unhappy about a few other things, Jackson picked up the phone and told Fighters Only a few home truths which he would like to share with the world.
Our man Gary Alexander was on the other end of the line…
FO: Hey Quinton good to hear from you; how is everything? Are you feeling alright, still in Japan?
Yeah man I am doing alright. I am still out here I leave for the Philippines early in the morning, I got some business out there so this is my last night. I am saying my goodbyes to my friends. I’m in a studio - you know I make music as a hobby - I am in the studio right now with my friend [name inaudible] who produced all my tracks.
We made a big hit actually, people will be really surprised when I release this because I have been making music for like six or seven years but never released anything. Now I am finally comfortable to actually release something. I was depressed yesterday but then we made this hit last night and it immediately cheered me up because normally I make music just for a hobby, I never release it, its just for me to enjoy.
But this song cheered me up in my hard times right now and I think my fans can get some enjoyment out of it. It cheered me up if they don’t like it I don’t give a fuck. I’m the king of doggy style.
FO: So last time I saw you was in California and you were letting rip about Joe Rogan. You were also trying to hide an injury which I just saw happen. I actually have the moment it happened on video…
Oh yeah you were there that day I forgot about that! That was the same day we did that interview about Joe Rogan. That’s why I was so pissed about Joe Rogan that day, because I was in a bad mood, I had just gotten injured and I was covering it up. When Joe Rogan came and talked to me [in Japan] I couldn’t remember why I was so pissed with Joe Rogan when I did that interview.
FO: So you’ve spoken to Joe? Is everything cool now?
I respect Joe Rogan because he came and talked to me like a man, that’s the only reason why I even brought all that shit up. I always liked Joe Rogan because he is a funny guy and I like funny guys, and I was hurt by some of the comments he had made. But he has a job to do and its kind of like a fine line. But I was like ‘sometimes man, just ask me first why I don’t do stuff so you’ve got this information before you go commentating.’
Like, if Joe Rogan really knew me like you know me, like people who really know me, he’d know I am not going to lie unless I really have to. So he could ask me and be more accurate with his commentary. He came and talked to me in Japan and I accepted it, I don’t hold no grudges. He came and talked to me like a man and I like that, that’s alpha. So I had to respect that so then I told him we squashed it, what Joe and I did really was squashing it. I’ve had some people who don’t know how to squash it or what squashing it really means.
Now its cool and he can say whatever he wants. I got tired of new fans that don’t know me going on like I don’t know what a leg kick is or how to block kicks, or that I don’t know jiu jitsu. I am gonna lay it all on the line now - the reason I was talking about retirement was that I have been fighting hurt for a while and I hate training because I always got some problems.
Elbow’s hurt, shoulder’s fucked up, wrist’s fucked up, both my knees fucked up, ankle problems. I fucked my jaw up before I fought Wanderlei and after a while its like man, I am training hard for these fights and I’ve got these injuries and at the back of my mind I’m thinking ‘I just want to retire.’
That’s why my goal is to be an action movie star because I’m a big kid, I get to play and shoot people and stuff, its fun. I don’t want to be an actor to be famous or anything, I don’t want to be a stageshow guy - I want to be an actor so I can play with toys. I want to have fun while making money.
And so I am thinking if I get hurt too bad maybe I can’t do a lot of action stuff because its not fun to have your stuntman doing everything. When I did the A-Team movie it looked like the stuntman was having more fun that me. The main reason I did the fuckin movie was just for fun, because I was a big fan of the movies and stuff. I want to be able to do some of my own stunts, not the crazy shit but the fun stuff. So that’s why I was thinking about retiring.
So when I hurt my knee this time it was fucked but it was really a blessing in disguise. I really wanted to fight for the Japanese fans and so I went to see the doctor and he told me not to fight. I was like ‘whoa.’ I bust out crying, because I had missed Japan and… you know, I don’t like to tell people that I cry but I am a human being, I cried. I woke up at like three o’clock in the morning and I cried. I couldn’t train and I didn’t know if it would be a career-ending injury.
I never had surgery in my life. But I hurt this knee back in college, I hurt it before I fought Rashad and so I knew it was the same injury… a lot of fights when I am injured I don’t tell anybody but the UFC knew this time because my doctor works for the UFC. Its good that the UFC knew because they look after you, they take care of you even if its just in training. Pride didn’t do that.
I told my doctor not to tell the UFC but he told them anyway. I don’t like the UFC to know sometimes because I think sometimes got big mouths and then sometimes my opponent knows. That’s why Rashad was punching me in my knee. That injury I kept quiet… it was a stupid move to punch me in my knee, it didn’t hurt, but if you’re fighting a good wrestler you need good knees so you can wrestle.
My sparring partner Tyson Jeffries is one of the best guys I ever trained with and I was kicking his ass in wrestling. I could never take him down but towards the end of camp I was getting him down, I was fuckin him up! (laughs) I wanted to show Ryan Bader and show the world that my wrestling is better than they expected. My wrestling was good against Jon Jones because this kid Tyson coached me. It was very depressing for me, I didn’t want the UFC to know.
I almost pulled out but then I went to see the doctor and he told me to talk to an age-management doctor. So I went and talked to them and they tested me and said my testosterone was low; they prescribed me testosterone, to bring my testosterone levels back up to levels where I can be like… so that I am the same as young people, like when I was 25, and it would help build my knee up. I hurt my knee like a month ago and I only did three shots of testosterone but it put a lot of weight on me, a lot of muscle on me but it healed me knee up good enough to where I could fight.
It was hard for me to train, it takes time to heal, I couldn’t do certain things, but this was my first time ever using testosterone. I took what the doctor prescribed to me and I went to the pharmacy… I gave myself small doses and that shit immediately changed me, that’s why I am saying now I am not going to retire. I am not gonna retire no time soon, its just unfortunate that I got this injury.
I started hitting it up pretty good, I still gotta take care of my knee but I feel like a 25 year old again. My sex life changed, I was back to five times a night like when I was 25, straight up. I got stronger, lifting weights. I was never good at lifting weights but I was doing everything, pull ups and stuff, everything with my top half. I gained a lot of weight but I gained a lot of water as well, I never knew about testosterone putting weight on you like that. I had to cut weight [for the fight] and I cut 22 pounds out of the 30 I needed to cut, I just couldn’t make the rest. I couldn’t make the rest.
FO: Is there any feeling on your part that TRT is basically drugging by another name, any doubts about using it?
Well to be honest with you I first learned about testosterone… I don’t know about health and drugs and stuff because I don’t really deal with it. I was never really big into it. So I was like ‘testosterone? No I’m not going to do that, that’s like steroids’ but then the doctor is like ‘no, steroids is stuff mixed with testosterone or other stuff, you can get steroids that do all types of things. Steroids for your cardio, for your muscles. Testosterone is all natural, its what your body produces.’
He was saying its like age management, it will turn back the clock and help heal you up. So I talked to my team and I really wanted to fight in Japan - coz you know I did all this stuff to fight in Japan and not in Chicago - and so I couldn’t give up and miss Japan. Everyone knows I love Japanese fans, they helped me become the fighter that I am, they gave me the energy and stuff. It was a hard decision but I was like ‘you know what, I am gonna do it. It will make me young and help me fight longer, which I want to.’
I keep it real, I am not doing anything wrong. Its legal and I am not abusing it and I am not going over certain levels. From what I learned about it, when I got tested my levels my levels were really low and the doctor was telling me that athletes can burn testosterone.
Sure enough I did it like a week or two and, I couldn’t train but… that’s why I did this song about doggy style! My doggy style was buck wild man I’m telling you. I was like a young man, back to lifting weights and stuff, running treadmill and I could run and run. I could hit pads but I couldn’t spar or wrestle until I got to Japan, like eight days before the fight. In Japan I saw the change and so I decided I am not retiring no time soon, whether I fight for the UFC or not, I am gonna heal my knee up and get back on top. I feel young again. I’m happy I did the testosterone, I wish I had known about it sooner.
I guarantee nine out of ten people would have pulled out with the injuries that I had. People were thinking that I wasn’t taking this fight seriously, that’s why I was getting so mad. That’s why I got so mad at Rich Franklin’s punk ass because people got stuff coming out their mouth… they got some stuff coming out their cocksucker that they don’t even know what they talking about.
Why would I not take anybody seriously when I am going to fight in front of my favourite fans? I’m going to train harder so I can put on a show in front of my favourite people. In my whole fighting career I never missed weight once. In King of the Cage I missed by a half a pound because this stupid ass dude told me don’t worry about it. I could have made the weight easy so that doesn’t even count.
But I never miss weight; when I fought Forrest I didn’t take that fight seriously, I will be honest with you, I overlooked Forrest bigtime. I was fat as hell for the camp but I made weight, so I think people need to really check what they say. I’m the wrong fella to talk like that to, I don’t play that shit. Anyone says I don’t take fights seriously, sign the contract and we will get in the cage and see who takes the fight seriously.
FO: The first you heard of what Franklin said was when Ariel Helwani put it to you right after you missed weight. Given the sometimes rocky relationship between you and he, did you take that as a deliberate provocation or something?
Ariel Helwani.. At first I didn’t like him but we hung out in Japan and he interviewed me a few times and we played some video games and shit. So then with that Rick Franklin thing I think he was just being a journalist but then some Japanese fans show me on YouTube the interview he did with Ryan Bader and I was like man, he was cool with me but then the kind of questions he is asking Ryan Bader is making me look stupid.
I don’t know if he did the interview before or after [the fight] but I told Ariel Helwani before the weigh ins that I wasn’t going to make weight. I didn’t know if I was going to make weight so I was going to keep it quiet. If I had won the fight I probably would have said after the fight but [until then] I played it off. I didn’t want Bader to know about the knee.
So I’ve got a bone to pick with Ariel Helwani next time I see him, I’m gonna be like what’s up with your interview style and the interview you did with Ryan Bader?
FO: But you don’t have any problems with what Bader said?
Ryan Bader is a nice guy and a cool guy and stuff but he is kind of running away with himself a little bit. Yeah he is doing good and he just knocked some guy out - I don’t know who that guy is, I never heard of the motherfuc-er, I know he has been fighting in the UFC a while though - but I don’t know who that guy is and yeah Bader beat me in Japan but man he fought a 20 per cent me.
When I fight a guy I can tell if he is not one hundred per cent, I don’t go round bragging like I beat someone. Like when I fought Ninja [Rua] it was a last minute fight so I could tell that I didn’t beat the best Ninja, and by decision, so I didn’t go around bragging about how I beat Ninja and how I whooped his ass. I am a fighter- I know I didn’t beat the best Ninja and I am not going to be as fulfilled with that victory because I beat a lesser Ninja… Where’s the glory in that?
I am a dying breed of fighter. I am a true fighter, I don’t go for these boring-ass fights just to get the W… A lot of fans say MMA is evolving fast and I am not evolving - I don’t want evolve like that. I don’t fight to show how smart I am with my gameplan and bore the crowd, I fight to put on good shows and be a fighter. So what if I lose? Yeah I get depressed and down on myself but at the end of the day I’m going to be happy that I excited some fans.
Let people be themselves, let them go and wrestle people and take them down and lay on them the whole time or stick and move, run from me the whole time. I don’t do that, I am a man. And yeah I don’t win all my fights and but at the end of the day people can’t say like, ‘Rampage just scared about the W.’
A lot of people saying I am not exciting any more - well how exciting can you be when the other person don’t want to fight? It takes two to fight the same as it takes two to fuck - who wants to fuck someone who doesn’t want to fuck? They call that motherfucker a rapist, he goes to jail. People who don’t want to fight and get in the cage, they want to ‘athlete’ their way to the belt.
No, I’m the last of a dying breed. The haters can say whatever they want to say, they are sitting on the couch watching me do what they love for my living. They hate themselves because they cant do what I am doing. My fans are the people who I fight for and I don’t lose not one ounce of sleep for haters.
So I’m gonna tell my fans, don’t even reply to me on Twitter telling me fuck the haters because if I want to reply to the haters its just because I want to tell them to shut the fuck up. I ain’t worried about that motherfucker trust me. People tell me I am not fan friendly but I am friendly to MY fans.
FO: Is it true you went and performed - and I’m not sure this rumour is accurate so forgive me if I am wrong - like a rap concert for fans in Tokyo after the Bader fight?
Oh yeah! Because I’ve been rapping and stuff for a while and I am putting together this album that ive been working on for a while and the producer is really serious about the music; to me its just a hobby but he is really serious so he scheduled something for me to do like a concert in one of the biggest clubs in Roppongi [nightclub district]. Me and my friend who taught me how to rap like six or seven years ago.
A lot of American fans won’t know that I nearly had a record deal with Pride, the company that ran Pride was called DreamStage and they did fights, movies and music. I did a movie with them and nobody said shit, nobody complained or anything. When I did the A-Team people complained; any black fighter who could have played BA Baracus could have done the same thing and I wouldn’t have said a damn thing about it. Its my life and my career and I want to have fun and entertain people.
So yeah I did a concert same night, it didn’t affect my mentality one bit. Win or lose I still want to enjoy myself because my job is done. I didn’t bail out because I lost, I think that’s a pussy move. I enjoyed myself, I had my champagne and I put on a show. They were so surprised I could rap. I entertained them twice in one night in two different ways. Now a Japanese company wants to… well I’m not going to say yet. But I am getting offers from Japan because of that concert and so it was a win out of my loss.
Interviewed by Gary Alexander
Additional reporting by John Joe O’Regan