Rampage Jackson’s relationship with the UFC never felt easy. The former light heavyweight champion and PRIDE star has had his share of beef with the UFC and Dana White over the years. Everything from fighter pay, to sponsor tax, to having to face guys that just want to wrestle. There was little surprise when he and the promotion parted ways in 2013 off a loss to Glover Teixeira.
Hell, at times, Jackson barely even seemed to enjoy being a fighter at all.
“I don’t know how much I ever loved the fight game, to be honest,” the Tennessee native told Fighters Only back in 2010. “Most fighters these days join fighting because they became a fan of it. When I started I wasn’t a fan of it—I’ve been a fighter my whole life. I just thought it was a blessing that God could give me something I could make money doing. When I was a kid I got tired of fighting. I didn’t want to be a fighter anymore. But I was just good at it. It was just something that was in my blood. Some people are fighters.”
Rampage Jackson & Tyron Woodley talk Dana White
Although he may have had no shortage of reasons to butt heads with Dana White, in a recent episode of his JAXXON podcast, ‘Slampage’ sat down with fellow former champion Tyron Woodley to talk about the time he felt the UFC president really went too far.
More than money or fight bookings, it all came down to how Jackson got treated by Dana White after fighting with a pre-existing injury.
“I think I fell out with Dana when I lost to Ryan Bader in Japan,” Jackson revealed. “I got injured before that fight and I called Dana right away. And I said ‘Man, I got a posterior tear in my meniscus. He said, ‘Whatchyou gonna do?’ I said, ‘S***, man, it’s Japan. I still want to fight. I said, ‘F***, man, I’m still going to fight. I want to fight, man.’ It’s Japan, we was fighting in Japan. I love fighting in Japan.
“So when I went there and I fought, and I lost by decision, first thing Dana do in the press conference, like, ‘I don’t know what’s going on with Rampage, I don’t think he has it. I don’t think he want it anymore.’
“After all the s*** [Dana White] did to me, when he did that s***, that’s when I kinda got p***** at him. I lost my love for fighting right there. Because I have never pulled out of a fight. I don’t pull out, man. I got 4, 5, 6 kids. I don’t pull out. I ain’t never pulled out of a fight. I never pulled out.
“After that? When I got injured I started pulling out of fights. I said, ‘F*** this s***.’ Because you don’t get no respect. You’re fighting injured. And I let Dana know right away that I was injured. For him to say that? That kinda made me look at him sideways.”
Tyron Woodley had a similar story about Dana White
Not to be outdone, former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley had his own Dana White story about getting injured and fighting anyway. Just like with Jackson, the ‘Chosen One’ said Dana White immediately threw him under the bus as well for a less than thrilling performance. Even though in his case it was fight he actually still won.
“The same way you feel right now? I had,” Woodley comiserated. “I imagine you still burn a little bit, right? Because [Dana White’s] a b****-a** n**** for doing that, like, in real life. Because in real life, you know for real… you know I f****** told you, dog. But now you’re gonna sit here and you know good and well I told you I tore my labrum against Demian Maia, and you just told everybody, nobody wants to watch me fight.
“But you just praised Paige VanZant—bless her heart, that’s my dog. She fought a tough fight. She was courageous and she lost the fight. She lost with that arm. Remember, she was fighting Jessica Rose-Clark, right? But they saluted her on fighting injured.
“I tore my right labrum, my money-making shot… but [Dana White] did that, and he was like, ‘Nobody wants to watch him fight, dadada.’ And I barked a little bit about it. I said, ‘You owe me a public apology, or I’m gonna start singin’. You know what I’m talking about?’ [inarticulate Dana White yelling noises].”
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Rampage Jackson wouldn’t want to be in UFC Hall of Fame
At this point, Rampage’s beef with Dana White and the promotion runs deep enough that he claims he wouldn’t even want to be a part of the UFC Hall of Fame. Speaking to Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour, back in 2021, the now-45-year-old made it clear that if the UFC ever wants to honor him, they can do so by cutting him a check.
“I say, ‘Honor me with a f****** check,’” Rampage responded when asked about the UFC Hall of Fame. “MMA fighters, we’re not like baseball players, we’re not like football players, we don’t get no pension or nothing like that. Those guys get in the Hall of Fame, they’ve got pensions and all that ****. Honor me with a check. I got a lot of injuries and pain for making the UFC a lot of money and selling a lot of pay-per-views, selling a lot of tickets. What do I give a f*** about being in the Hall of Fame? To be famous? I didn’t fight to be famous.”
That stance has softened a bit in the time since. Earlier this year, Rampage hit the MMA Hour again and the topic once again turned to Hall of Fame talk. He may still not be interested, but the former Wolfslair talent admitted he’d be happy to accept if it came with some kind of pension plan.
“I wouldn’t mind being in the Hall of Fame if it came with something like a pension,” Jackson explained (transcript via BJPenn.com). “But it don’t. This is something that people really haven’t grasped about me and why I fight. I never fought to be in the Hall of Fame, I never fought to be famous.”
“Not disrespecting the UFC but I couldn’t care less about a Hall of Fame. In any organization, even if PRIDE had a Hall of Fame, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t, I would accept it. But it’s not like something like ‘Hey put me in the Hall of Fame, put me in the Hall of Fame.’ You understand what I’m saying?
Jackson is currently set to make a somewhat surprising return to MMA in 2023, with an eye toward potential future boxing bouts. Earlier this month the fighter revealed that a long sought grudge match against a guy he once bullied on the Ultimate Fighter has finally come to fruition. Jackson will be facing Darrill Schoonover at a UFL event likely in mid-December. If that goes well, fans just might see Jackson make his debut in the boxing ring in 2024.
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