The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced during the UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Dollaway broadcast on Saturday that the fight promotion had inked a deal to bring back former light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
The announcement came as a bit of a surprise considering Jackson signed a multi-year contract that included dealings with Viacom-owned Spike TV, Bellator MMA, and TNA Wrestling in June 2013.
On Nov. 17, Jackson posted a tweet that started the ball in motion for him to exit Bellator MMA and rejoin the UFC roster.
Just a thought.. But I’ve learned a big lesson in life and business: sometimes u should just stay with the devil u know @ufc
— Quinton Jackson (@Rampage4real) November 18, 2014
“I haven’t been happy with my contract at Bellator for a while. Every since the pay-per-view with the ‘King Mo’ (Lawal) fight,” Jackson said during the UFC Fight Night 58 Post Show. “Bjorn Rebney, I don’t know what happened. He left Bellator. He got fired. I don’t know. The contract just wasn’t right. My manager and I, we were trying to fix it but Bellator, they didn’t want to fix it.
“They had 45 days, and I terminated the contract,” added the Bellator Season 10 Light Heavyweight Tournament winner. “I sent the tweet out because I was kind of upset about how things are going in MMA and how fighters get treated, and stuff like that. I just did a little tweet and I guess Dana White saw it. He responded to it and started everything — my manager started talking to him and here we go. No love lost.”
Bellator MMA president Scott Coker reacted by tweeting that Jackson remains under an exclusive contract with Bellator MMA minutes following the announcement. He also indicated that the fight promotion plans to fight to keep Jackson.
Let us be clear that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is under an exclusive contract with #BellatorMMA. We will protect our contractual rights
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) December 21, 2014
Jackson alleges that Bellator MMA breached the contract, but didn’t go into detail about the specifics.
“It was just one of those things where people don’t honor their contracts. It’s just not cool. You can be a big company and that means you don’t have to honor your contract? You’ve got big time, expensive lawyers. The UFC, one thing about them, they did honor their contract,” said Jackson.
“At least they honored their contract. You sign a contract for a reason. You guys are bound by law to do what you say you’re going to do. If you can’t honor your contract, that’s a company I don’t really want to be associated with,” said Jackson about his decision to leave Bellator MMA.
Jackson won the UFC light heavyweight title by dethroning Chuck Liddell at UFC 71. He’s coached two seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. He’s earned Fight of the Night honors three times inside the Octagon and Knockout of the Night twice.
“The thing about Rampage is, Rampage always comes to excite the fans. I love the fans. I just want to give them exciting fights, so I’m very excited to be back. My actions are going to speak louder than my words,” said the former champion following the announcement of his return.