There’s only one ‘Rampage’ Jackson

To make headway in the workplace, we often learn to sublimate our true selves and substitute a false persona that others find more acceptable. Showing any color or personality can be the kiss of death when it comes to career advancement.

Today’s professional athletes are often a reflection of this philosophy, and many have been conditioned by slick public relations gurus to give press statements as if they were reading off cue cards. When it comes to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, as evidenced by the UFC 114 conference call, this is not the case.

Some gems from the call that he directed toward opponent Rashad Evans:

“I want to teach guys like this a lesson to keep his mouth shut when you’re not on the same level as the next man.”

“At the end of the day, May 29, you know you’re getting your (butt) kicked.”

“He’s just real fake and real cocky.”

“Don’t hit on me because you can’t beat me.”

“Who talks when they’re being knocked out?”

It’s not hard to understand where the bad blood is coming from. First, there’s the anger and aggravation magnified during their stints as coaches opposite each other on the 10th season of The Ultimate Fighter. Rampage has always been a showman, something that’s kept him flying high on the radar whenever he fights. But has running his mouth actually done any damage to his career?

Last February, Rampage was featured in the “human chain” Nike commercial. And on June 11, the A-Team movie will be released in theaters across North America, starring Quinton as Sgt. Bosco “B.A.” Baracus. In light of these achievements, it’s impossible to dispute Rampage’s star power.

Jackson is the public favorite against Evans for a good reason — his knockout power and wrestling give him the ability to control the fight and end it whenever he chooses. Whatever intel Evans' trainer Greg Jackson might have gleaned from Keith Jardine’s bout with Rampage will probably be nullified by Rampage’s renewed dedication to training. Finally, there’s some truth to what Evans accuses Rampage of — being much smarter than he pretends to be.

For the entertainment he’s given to the fans, for the lifetime of work he’s put into MMA, Rampage is entitled to a lifetime of financial security. Because he’s gotten his name out there, even if he were to lose a fight, he’d still have other avenues to earn revenue outside of fighting. If his act annoys opponents, so be it, but there’s more at stake here than a title eliminator for a championship belt that Rampage lost through a controversial decision against Forrest Griffin.

“I ain’t never lied about why I do the things that I do,” Rampage, “Save up for my future, so whatever’s bringing in the most cash, that’s where my ass will be at. That’s real.”