That’s never been more evident than over the past several months. Rampage has taken shots at his current employer, the UFC, at nearly every turn. Interviews, Twitter, you name it; Rampage is slinging arrows.
His latest salvo came on a recent appearance of HDNet’s Inside MMA, a common stop for Rampage.
“After I leave the UFC, I’m done with them. Just like when I left Pride,” he told hosts Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten.
That’s fine by UFC president Dana White, who sounds as if he’s about done dealing with Rampage’s tirades.
“I’ll have a conversation with Rampage and think we’re cool and then I’ll read other stuff. Rampage is obviously not happy with the UFC,” White said following Thursday’s UFC on Fox 3 pre-fight press conference at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
“No big deal brother, you don’t want to be here anymore.”
Rampage has one more fight left on his UFC contract. Despite his vitriol, he hasn’t indicated that he would not honor that contract. For his part, White has said that once Rampage’s contract was fulfilled, they would honor his wishes to part ways with the promotion.
With the strain on their relationship reaching an apparent breaking point, who knows if that last fight will ever come to fruition.
Rampage was going to face Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in a rematch of their Pride fight from several years ago as the final bout on his contract, but put it on hold, citing the need for double knee surgery.
In the meantime, Shogun has been scheduled to face Thiago Silva at UFC 149 in Calgary in July.
Rampage has still been on the offensive, however, calling the UFC to task for everything from pay to matchmaking to altering his image with fans.
“My second fight, they throwed me Chuck Liddell. The fans didn’t know who I was. I knocked him out; the fans booed me. They changed me towards the fans. I used to be the nicest guy towards the fans,” said Rampage, adding, “I’m tired of fighting these guys that are cowards. They just run around the cage.”
But according to White, the UFC has been fair and then some with Rampage.
“As far as money goes, everybody needs to make more money. That’s human nature,” he said. “We’ve never screwed anybody over, including Rampage.
“You want to talk about a guy we went to bat for. We’ve gone to bat for him many times. I feel like (expletive) (Derek) Jeter when it comes to Rampage.”
It’s clear, however, that White’s patience with Rampage has worn paper-thin.
“If he’s unhappy with us, doesn’t like us, and doesn’t want to be with us anymore, then the feeling is mutual.”