Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson has long had a reputation for being one of the most fan-friendly fighters in MMA, but even by his usual standards he excelled himself with one of his US fans.
Justin Prince is a young man who has a passion for the Call of Duty video game, as does Jackson. Prince managed to play online with Jackson a couple of years ago - thanks to Jackson revealing his gamer tag in a Fighters Only interview, actually - and they struck up an acquaintance online.
Prince relates via the Sherdog forum how the acquaintance turned into the trip of a lifetime - and seriously benefited his bank balance too. Can you think of any other well-known athlete who does this kind of thing for fans?
“So March rolls around and I get a call and it's Quinton. Tells me he is going to be on a show for Call of Duty and is playing against his friend and director of the A-Team Joe Carnahan and needs to put a team together. Like I said we play all the time with him. Wants to fly me out to LA to play against Joe's team.
“My buddy who lives down the street plays a lot with us to and wanted him to come as well. Then [Quinton] says ‘I'll give you 2g's ($2,000) each’ Told him he didn't have to pay us but said he wanted to. So we agree. Few days later we are on our way to LA.
“We get to LA and he has a driver pick us up and take us to a restaurant. Really nice one too. Some kind of steak house. His family was in town so here I am sitting at a table of 19 with 2 of my friends Quinton Rampage Jackson and his entire family. We all eat and he has the driver take us back to our hotel.
“So it's the next morning and time to do the Call of Duty match which come to find out is ‘Call of Duty: Friday Night Fights’. None of us knew what was really going to happen or what was going on Quinton included. It was a huge set at Sony, a real Hollywood set. Limo’s were supposed to pick us up but Quinton suggested we call them off so we can all ride together.
“So he picks us up at the hotel and we are off to LA. There we get make up put on, meet Joe Carnahan director of A-Team, the grey and his team. Those guys are some characters and really cool. Lots of laughs and funny. We play the match - I'll leave the outcome out - and then off to a Irish pub for dinner/drink and to chill the rest of the night.
“Next day Quinton tells us to come over to his house because he wants to take us to the gym he opened. I got to ride in his R8 while my friend drove his big ass truck. The R8 ride was VERY cool. That little car is fast as hell! Saw the green [Lamborghini] and Challenger. Batteries were dead because he was in Japan and I don't think he drives them all the time. His R8 and Lexus seem to be his daily drivers. Saw the [Pride and UFC title] belts. I can say I have touch UFC GOLD.
“So it's time to catch the flight home. Cuts my two friends and I checks for 2g's ($2,000) each. Later that month Call of Duty company sent my friends and I a check for 1g ($1,000) each. So I got to hang out with Quinton and got paid 3g’s ($3,000) to play video games. By far the coolest trip I have been on.
“He really is a nice guy. One of the nicest I have met. He really takes good care of his friends and family. All his friends say how big of a heart he has. For the record his knee really was hurt after the Bader fight I could tell by the way he was walking at times.
“It was hard not to be an MMA fan boy. Didn't take a lot of pics because I know he doesn't like them. He's just a cool guy to hang out with even if he wasn't a famous fighter and FUNNY as hell!”