One of the interesting developments from Rampage’s KO of Liddell have been fan reactions. By “fan” I mean those new to the sport who are catching the MMA wave as it crests. These are folks who are particularly susceptible to buying the various storylines peddled by the UFC to sell a fight. I don’t mean to disparage the storylines. Sometimes they’re accurate and do, in fact, add a certain “something” to the weight and meaning of a particular bout or event. The problem for the UFC, though, was that the storyline for Liddell vs. Jackson 2 so heavily favored Chuck that they made it seem as if the contest’s outcome was nothing more than a matter of discretion for Liddell. Rampage’s ascendcy to the top of the sport was something along those paying attention for themselves would catch.
So it should be no surprise that every new or casual UFC fan was dismayed about Saturday night’s outcome. They all either thought Liddell was unstoppable or they were attached to the storyline in that they wanted Liddell to complete the revenge triumverate.
What does all of this mean? It means that there are now questions regarding Jackson’s marketability and whether Liddell’s KO portends disaster for the UFC. To those in the know, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Rampage is a natural-born character, oozing with charisma and charm. For evidence, watch this video of Rampage at the post-fight press conference. Listen to how easily he interacts with reporters and how his candid style works effortlessly in mixed company. If you’re worried about Rampage’s ability to carry the UFC on his back as Liddell has done the past few years, worry no more.
I also like Dana White’s comment that he’d wait all night to answer questions from mainstream press outlets. Say what you will about his diction, but you’ve got to admire that guy’s business acumen.
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